Today, the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, has launched the search for pioneering businesses that can tackle five major digital challenges facing retailers.
The contest is designed to encourage new ideas to drive ‘future retail’.
IC tomorrow, Innovate UK’s digital programme, has worked with leading organisations in the retail industry to define five key challenges for applicants to address. Creators behind the winning solutions will get to work with the partners supporting each challenge to develop a prototype using funding from IC tomorrow.
The five challenge areas and partners are:
Pioneering new ways to fight food waste – Tesco and WRAP
- In the UK 7 million tonnes of food and drink is thrown away each year. This challenge seeks to find a customer focused solution to reduce food waste.
Future of fitting - Digital Anthropology Lab - London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London (UAL)
- With retailers reporting a returns rate of 20-40%, this challenge aims to find a way to optimise the virtual fitting experience, to make it easier for shoppers in store and online.
Seamless shopping – Unilever
- This challenge seeks to find a solution for retailers and suppliers that makes the reordering of products as seamless as possible.
Enhancing in-store experiences – Barclays
- This challenge seeks to bring in a solution to provide further customer friendly digital services in branch to help customers with their everyday banking needs.
Digital enhancement of street and covered markets - Greater London Authority
- This challenge is looking to help London’s markets adapt and grow through the use of new technologies by traders and operators.
Matt Sansam, Lead Technologist, Digital Economy and Programme Manager for IC tomorrow, said:
“Digital has already transformed the retail environment. The customer experience in retail has come on in leaps and bounds in the last decade with digital technology as a catalyst.
“The Future of Retail innovation contest aims to drive the evolution of this huge industry, further improving customer experience and also using technology to solve pressing issues such as food waste. Together with our partners, Tesco, WRAP, Unilever, London College of Fashion, UAL, Barclays and Greater London Authority, we hope to find the people and the solutions that can keep retail at the forefront of digital innovation.”
Judges are looking for applicants who are offering solutions that will appeal to a wide commercial market. The five winners will trial their proposed solutions with their industry partners for a minimum of three months.
The deadline for entries is 12.00pm on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 and the winners will be announced on Friday 22nd April 2016.