Retailers are experts in progression. From traditional brick and mortar stores to pure-play e-tailers, brands have demonstrated the ability to adapt to – if not anticipate – all situations.  Big data, VR and AR are now at the starting point of a consumer’s purchasing experience and CRM, the omnichannel and AI support the overall shopping journey.

Paris Retail Week has compiled a list of Innovative Retail Concepts from international retail experts and the results are shown in this article.

Discover the most outstanding retail initiatives around the world, including those that are ahead of the game and foresee future trends!


Vincent Panneels – Blogger –

The new Sequoia planted in Hoeilaart.

When asked about my preference in terms of retail initiatives in Belgium, I immediately thought of the organic sector. Last year, the Belgian retailers specialized in organic food were particularly active. Several of the main players battled hard to seduce consumers or to secure the best locations in order to expand their network.

Sequoia is one of those very active retailers. Last October they opened their seventh store in Hoeilaart and it is standing out for several reasons. First of all, for the chain itself, it is the first store in the Flemish region of Belgium and they adapted their entire communication successfully to the language requirements. Secondly, the offer of products is incredibly complete: fresh, veggie, household, pet food etc… you name it, you can find it in the store.

And finally, and this is the most important parameter to make it stand out as one of my favorite retail initiatives of last year: the new shop is also a place for customer experience. For the kids, there is a kid’s corner where they can play and imagine themselves organic grocers while the parents are busy. Moreover the store has a “workshop zone” where different conferences, cooking workshops and more info meetings can take place. So this new Sequoia is not just a new supermarket in the franchise, it is also a meeting place for consumers into healthy food and lifestyle.

Sequoia market Belgium
Sequoia market Belgium

Stefan van Rompay – Chief Editor RetailDetail

An urban garden on the roof of a supermarket

Shoppers at Delhaize Boondael in Ixelles (Brussels) can buy vegetables that have just been picked on the roof of their supermarket. No marketing stunt, but part of the sustainability strategy of the retailer. The garden measures 360 m², half of which is under a greenery, and it grows tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and several lettuce varieties.

The products are sold directly and exclusively in the supermarket. The retailer has added an educational program to the project: a didactic space has been set up where workshops will be organized for those who want to see how the vegetables on their plates are being grown and harvested.

Delhaize Boondael Belgium
Delhaize Boondael Belgium


Dayana Cadet – Millennial Retail Expert,

Bayview Village Toronto – pop-up stores by upstart retailers

I believe Canada is leading the charge when it comes to building a diverse community of craft brands and independent retailers – something that Hubba is extremely passionate about and strives to do from a digital standpoint. As such, we’ve seen pop-up concept stores “popping up” at a steadily increasing pace (with 2018 already predicted to be “The Year of the Pop-Up”).

Strategically, the focus has shifted from simply being a means to reach consumers to now being a way for retailers to foster relationships with up-and-coming entrepreneurs. One example of this has been the Bayview Village in Toronto’s innovative “quick-change” pop-up concept in which different upstart retailers were housed every day for a month.

The fully furnished, multi-functional space is just one example of high-end malls and retail behemoths dedicating space and time to help independent brands and retailers grow. As a whole, Canada – and Toronto in particular – has a “a win for one, is a win for all of us” mentality, so it’s refreshing to see more retailers sharing the wealth rather than competing against the little guys, and vice versa!

Bayview Village Canada
Bayview Village Canada


Adeline Çabale – CEO & Co-Founder Retail Factory

La Moustacherie – Paris

The startup  Big Moustache has been selling shaving kits and accessories online since 2013 thanks to a subscription and a grooming box system, just as  the Dollar Shave Club did in United States.

Nevertheless, Big Moustache was forced to innovate in order to convince the French market: through a products diversification, the set up of some Parisian pop-up stores, and the distribution of Big Moustache products through mass market distribution. And last but not least: the opening of a 1290 square foot flagship on Boulevard Beaumarchais called La Moustacherie, with the objective to reach new customers.

Like the Birchbox store on Rue Montmartre (beauty boxes for women) that offers customers to compose their own box on the ground floor and to be pampered upstairs, La Moustacherie has a sales floor and a dedicated area for shaving. Their office is also inside the shop.

The idea? To create a link between the team and their customers, a desire of community retail claimed by the brand that even organizes breakfasts on Monday mornings and happy hours on Thursday evenings in-store! Moreover, Big Moustache wants to go further in its retail strategy: to open other stores in Paris this year.

A case to follow…

Big Moustache France
Big Moustache France


Géraldine PuckenEvent management Co-trainer, The Retail Academy

Two innovative food concepts made in Germany.

Data Kitchen – Berlin

The Digitalised automat: Slow food fast – freshly prepared and thoughtfully composed dishes for breakfast and lunch!

The main idea of this concept is to spend your lunch break entirely enjoying your food and not hussel with the ordering or paying process any more. The Data Kitchen looks like a normal restaurant, with tables, chairs and waiters. The only thing you have to look for is the menue because you order your meal beforehand with the special designed data kitchen app. You choose your food, you choose the time and you pay everything with your smartphone. After your order has bee proceeded your food is going to be freshly prepared only for you and will be delivered at the „Data Kitchen Food Wall“ at the requested time. Only fresh ingredients and best qualities are used. This leads to the result: eventhough it sounds like fast food, it tastes like slow food.

Data kitchen Germany
Data kitchen Germany

Laden Ein – Cologne

Laden Ein is the first stationary Pop-Up Restaurant, where the menu changes every two weeks. Not only the menu changes, but also the cooks, the servants and the entire concept. Laden Ein offers the possibility for every cook, if professional or not, to test his own ideas in real life. The only condition is to present one starter, three main courses and one dessert. Each new team can take advantage of the entire Laden Ein experience and in the same time the have the chance to experiment themselves. Of course also the guests enjoy the variety, the can eat very different food in the same location every two weeks.

Laden Ein Germany
Laden Ein Germany


Isabelle Ohnemus – fashion retail expert, CEO of EyeFitU

The winning strategy of online fashion retailer Boohoo 

Isabelle Ohnemus by Adriana Tripa

Online fashion retailer Boohoo is making huge waves in the UK retail scene, leading the way with its unstoppable approach to fast-fashion. The hugely profitable brand is now ahead of the likes of H&M and Zara in terms of getting its designs onto its site for purchase in under two weeks. Only a few days after the Royal Wedding, Boohoo unveiled a copy of Meghan Markle’s reception wedding dress for a fraction of the cost.

The success of the online giant is largely due to its targeted, personalised marketing strategy and the seamless purchase journey it offers to its customers. With its average consumer being between 16-30 years-old, Boohoo continues to demonstrate how strong, targeted digital marketing and investment in advanced technology and clever use of data drives sales, retains customers and wins new ones in today’s fast-paced digital retail world.

Bohoo UK
Bohoo UK


Debbie HaussEditor-in-Chief Retail Touchpoints

Lowe’s experience stores

The ability to combine experience with innovation is going to be the key to success for retailer moving forward. In the U.S., Lowe’s has been an innovation leader, opening an innovation lab in 2015 and adding smart technology experience stores-within-stores in 2017.

The Lowe’s innovation lab has introduced virtual reality (VR) experiences for shoppers, called Holoroom How To, that teaches shoppers how to do home renovations in a virtual environment. Self-guided robots, called LoweBots, help in-store shoppers find the products they are looking for.

Most recently, Lowe’s launched the smart home experiences in 70 Lowe’s stores after a three-store pilot in 2016. The Smart Home by b8ta is designed to “emulate a ‘lab-like’ atmosphere that empowers customers to make informed decisions,” according to Ruth Crowley, VP of Customer Experience Design at Lowe’s.

Lowe's USA
Lowe’s USA

Adeline Çabale – CEO & Co-Founder Retail Factory

The Real Real, second hand luxury made in New York 

The Real Real is a pure player specialized in second-hand luxury fashion in the US. Founded in 2011, they started online and have been growing their e-commerce business fast since then. After a few pop up stores, they opened their first permanent store at the heart of Soho last November. A large 6,000 square-foot space that offers consignment of womenswear, menswear, accessories, jewelry, watches, and decoration.

All items you can find in-store are simultaneously available online, proof that The Real Real placed the omnichannel at the heart of their strategy. There is a café and a florist to provide a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. All the products are organized per size, luxury bags are displayed on shelves and hidden closets are bursting with some vintage treasures. Authentication is at the heart of the concept. Sales staff are real specialists on this matter and some free classes are organized every week in-store so that customers learn how to identify fake products and increase their fashion knowledge. This creates traffic and is a great example of the Educational Retail trend that we now see emerging in the US and in France.

Another great asset of The Real Real is that when they launched their business they really put themselves in the shoes of their customers, making selling items easy and hassle free with free inhome pickup, authentication and shipping. Which in the end made ‘The Real’ difference with their competitors.

Finally, sustainability is another key success of this concept, as conscious buying is now hitting more and more consumers all over the world, The Real Real clearly found their part to play.

The Real Real New York
The Real Real New York


María Corcuera Jauregui– Editor Retail Actual

ASSET  – An European project based on a Spanish initiative to improve shopping experience in store

Artificial Intelligence to create experiences at the point of sale

The current consumers ask for more information than given by labeling. They want to know the stakes linked to the companies which develop the products they purchase in terms of , social responsibilities on subjects concerning  environment, fair trade, the origin of raw materials, animal treatment, etc.

In Spain, the technologic center Ainia –based in Valence- developed the technology platform ASSET together with European partners, in order to improve the shopping experience in store and to promote a collaborative, responsible and sustainable consumption. The platform is composed of a data base of 10,000 food products, an artificial intelligence system to adapt the products with the profiles of the consumers, the My Prefs application to interact with the consumer and a positioning system to locate the consumer in the supermarket.

Personalised information on the shelfs

It is a solution of bidirectional mobile innovation of product and marketing that allows supermarkets and hypermarkets to know the preferences of the consumers and their purchasing behaviors, while offering them additional and personalised information on the product they are interested in at the time of the purchase.

The benefit for the consumers is to  have an application which helps them to choose  products according to their preferences in the same shelf space, as well as to consult the opinion of other users with similar purchase profiles. Furthermore, the platform ASSET and its application reward customer loyalty thanks to a system of discount vouchers.

Asset platform Spain
Asset platform Spain


Save the date for the next Paris Retail Week show from 10 to 12 September 2018

For its 4th editionParis Retail Week, the biggest European trade event will take its full scope and will gather in Pavilion 1 of Paris expo Porte de Versaillethe e-commerce sector, dedicated to solutions for e-retailers, ranging from digital marketing to logistics, and the Store / Equipmag sector, dedicated to physical commerce and distribution.

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Pour sa quatrième édition, Paris Retail Week, le plus grand événement retail européen de la rentrée prendra toute son envergure et réunira dans le Pavillion 1 de la Porte de Versailles le secteur E-Commerce, dédié aux solutions e-commerce, du digital marketing à la logistique et du secteur Store / Equipmag, dédié au commerce physique et à la distribution.

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