The Tech List: Five global digital leaders UK retail can learn from | Analysis


Gabay, Michael_Trigo

miguel gabayTrigo, the Israeli start-up, has caused a sensation with its contactless payment operation. By founding Trigo in 2018 together with his brother Daniel, Gabay has raised an investment of over $100m (£88.3m) for their business, which specializes in technology to transform convenience stores and supermarkets into stand-alone digital stores, making it that allows retailers to experiment with technology that might otherwise only be open to the likes of Amazon.

Trigo’s solution works by allowing shoppers to use an app to scan a QR code when they enter a store. Their cameras then anonymously tag them and follow them around the store, automatically detecting when the customer has picked up an item. The system then compiles all items into a virtual shopping list and payment is made digitally.

Gabay’s solution has captured the attention of retailers. Aldi Nord worked with Trigo to open its first AI-powered stand-alone supermarket, Aldi Shop & Go, in July in the Netherlands, while in the US, Trigo signed a deal in January with Wakefern Food Corp, a cooperative owned by 50 retailers, to test their own independent self-contained supermarket.

In the UK, Trigo technology is behind Tesco’s trial of stand-alone stores, with the first GetGo store opening in High Holborn, London, last October. The trial proved successful for the grocer and this month revealed that three more sites would open in central London and Birmingham in the coming months.

Frictionless stores are in their relative infancy, but with Amazon’s standalone stores having the potential to drive demand among consumers, Trigo presents an opportunity to compete with the e-commerce giant and test the technology early.

However, the future success of frictionless stores is far from guaranteed, as Amazon’s recent hiatus shows, and there is increased competition from companies such as US startup AiFi (also featured on The Tech List) and Swedish vendor Livfs.


Naho Kono

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, retailer Rakuten occupies a central place in the e-commerce landscape and Naho Kono plays a key role in the company’s online leadership in Japan. After joining Rakuten in 2003, she is the first and youngest female CEO (CEO equivalent) at the retailer. Kono also serves as the director of marketing for Rakuten Group and Rakuten Mobile, the mobile operator business launched in 2020.

Under Kono, Rakuten has built an impressive digital ecosystem that links all aspects of online through payments. Its loyalty program, and the data it generates, is now at the heart of its offering and is used in a network of 5 million partner store locations across Japan.

At the Retail World Congress in March, Kono said its partner ecosystem continues to grow, with consumers able to spend their loyalty points at local convenience stores and pharmacies, as well as supermarket chains like former Walmart subsidiary Seiyu. . Its online marketplace is at the center, with increased loyalty leading to 75% of customers making a repeat purchase within a three-month period. To meet consumer demand and provide added convenience, the company is also experimenting with drones and autonomous delivery vehicles.

As the largest e-commerce site in Japan with a market capitalization of $7.25bn (£6.43bn) and annual sales for the year ending June 2022 of over £13.2bn, a year-on-year increase of 3.36 %, Kono’s work at Rakuten offers a window into an innovative e-commerce model that sets the company apart from its peers.



French grocer Carrefour is one of the world’s largest retailers and, as group chief executive for e-commerce, data and digital transformation, Elodie Perthuisot plays a critical role in determining the digital direction of the industry.

Perthuisot, who joined Carrefour as marketing director in 2018, has spoken of the importance of avoiding “technology for technology’s sake”, focusing instead on solutions that tangibly improve the business, such as store innovation.

In November 2021, Carrefour opted for a new store concept, under the direction of Perthuisot. Its Flash 10/10 convenience store in Paris was developed in collaboration with American startup AiFi (featured among The Tech List’s Startups and Disruptors), which focuses on consumer convenience, providing “10 seconds to shop and 10 seconds to pay ”.

The store ties in perfectly with Carrefour’s overall digital goals, with the chain aiming for a “deep transformation of traditional retail through digital” as well as a data-first approach. This means increasing its digital investment, with €3bn (£2.6bn) earmarked for 2022-26 along with a fund backing early-stage startups tackling the digital space. Launched in April in partnership with venture capital firm Daphni, the Dastore fund has €80m (£69.5m) to invest.

Perthuisot is making strides in the virtual world, too: In July, Carrefour announced a metaverse partnership with Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) brand Mr Clean. Perthuisot said the activation combined gamification, immersion, and Web3 to test and get feedback on the metaverse opportunity. It worked by allowing anyone to access P&G’s LifeLab in the metaverse, where users were tasked with helping Mr Clean tidy up as much of his virtual home as possible in two minutes while exploring different P&G products. Users then entered a contest with the chance to win a €40 coupon to be used on company websites together with Carrefour.

The results were positive, with average users spending 13 minutes playing the game, and Carrefour attributed this commitment to the game’s low barrier to entry, being accessible to everyone at the click of a button without the need for headsets or technology.



trudy dai He is one of Alibaba’s 18 founding members and has been with the company since 1999. Widely seen as a Jack Ma protégé, Dai has since January assumed leadership of the Chinese company’s domestic e-commerce arm, including C2C marketplace Taobao. , the B2C Tmall website and B2B Platform and wholesaler

Under Dai’s leadership, Alibaba’s reputation for innovation continues and this extends to metaverse technology. In the summer, in time for China’s 618 shopping festival, Tmall launched a virtual metaverse shopping mall. The ‘mall’ allows shoppers to access it via their phones, without virtual reality headsets, and allows the user to guide their avatar through the 3D stores and engage in a range of interactive activities, including shopping .

In June, Alibaba joined other tech titans including Meta, Microsoft and Sony to form the Metaverse Standards Forum, which aims to foster industry-wide cooperation on the standards needed to build the open metaverse. Meanwhile, in March, Alibaba led a $60m (£54.9m) investment round in AR eyewear maker Nreal. The investment will be used to increase research and development, while accelerating the expansion of the devices into new markets.

While Alibaba has faced similar challenges to many other retailers this year (in August, sales stagnated for the first time ever with revenue of 205.56 billion yen (£25.5 billion) in the quarter to the end of June), Dai’s leadership in the evolution of e-commerce continues to set the bar.

china and holland

mark den butter

China’s e-commerce goliath is known for its technological and logistical prowess. It offers home deliveries via drones and autonomous vehicles, uses advanced AI-powered marketing, and in recent years has opened several 7Fresh grocery stores in China where shoppers can choose to pay using facial recognition.

Its first physical stores in Europe, which mark den butter – and Ochama’s COO – is leading operations along with Ochama’s general manager, Pass Lei, doesn’t disappoint either. Den Butter has only been on since October 2021, following a career with Dutch supermarket chains like Jumbo. In January, he led the opening of two robotics stores in the Netherlands under the Ochama brand, with more locations to follow.

Ochama shoppers can use an app to shop for food and non-food items at home or on the go before heading to the store to pick them up. The automated warehouse is partially visible to customers and is part of the experience. Once they arrive, shoppers can scan a QR code and watch as a fleet of robots select, sort and transfer their items via a conveyor belt. Home delivery is also available and there is a showroom with items on display.

With JD looking at other markets in Europe while monitoring the performance of these new outlets, den Butter will remain at the forefront of a potentially innovative project for omnichannel retail.

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