5 Retailers That Caught Our Eye in 2018

The year is coming to a close. So, it's time to evaluate the most innovative retailers of 2018. Ready to get creative and inspired?

With 2018 coming to a close, it’s time for lists. Whether you’re reading a list of must-see movies of 2018, or checking if you’re up-to-date with the must-read novels of the year. All of these lists want to tell you what they thought was the best of the best of 2018.

And that’s what we decided to do too. But we have not rounded up a list of movies or novels. No, we’ve made a list of the five retailers that caught our eye in the last year. A list of the most innovative retailers of 2018.

These retailers announced some innovative ideas, revealed exciting news and simply were omnipresent on all sorts of media. So, definitely keep an eye on these following retailers in 2019, they most definitely will surprise us again next year!


Who doesn’t love the Swedish furniture giant with its cozy stores, playgrounds for children and Swedish restaurants? The retailer is on top of the game: easy-to-build furniture, made for everyone and for every place. But last July, IKEA announced that it would collaborate with Neste, an oil refining company for the greater good.

Canal+ announced that, together they want to develop alternatives for plastic made out of fossil fuels. Neste and IKEA decided to stop using plastic made out of petrol and are now making ‘bioplastic’. The process? From now on, they’ll only use renewable resources or waste such as used cooking oil. And how is IKEA going to implement this bioplastic?

The year is coming to a close. So, it's time to evaluate the most innovative retailers of 2018. Ready to get creative and inspired?

(Source: Canal+)

Well, since a couple of months, IKEA furniture such as the Vlüsjki, Klujøs and Bâldö will at least contain 20% bioplastic. Good news, right? The Swedish furniture retailer, besides innovating in design, also develops creative ideas for the future. Less plastic soup for a better and cleaner world. We’re fans!

2. Ekoplaza

Ekoplaza is a Dutch retailer with a chain of organic food supermarkets. Last summer, Ekoplaza introduced the ‘very first plastic-free pop-up store’ in Amsterdam. But some customers thought as they walked into the store: Wait a minute? This isn’t plastic-free? What’s all that’s wrapped around that cereal, chocolate, sauce and meat?

But their eyes fooled them. The plastic in the store wasn’t exactly plastic. Made out of compostable materials such as wood pulp, plant cellulose, algae, mushrooms, grass, shrimp shells and much more, as A Plastic Planet mentions. So, the package isn’t entirely made out of fossil fuels and – bonus! – is also biodegradable.

The year is coming to a close. So, it's time to evaluate the most innovative retailers of 2018. Ready to get creative and inspired?

(Source: Ethical Marketing News)

Ekoplaza also promotes the use of other plastic-free items. Think glass and ethically sourced paper. Besides striving for less plastic, the bio supermarket chain also aims to better everyone’s lifestyle.

They promote healthy food, rich with flavor. And that without any synthetic fragrances or preservatives: ‘Food as it is meant to be’. We’re very much looking forward to what the future of bioplastic has to bring.

3. Adidas

Our last two innovative retailers of 2018 were all involved with the environment and the well-being of the planet. The next retailer is also creative with the latest technologies, but not in the same field. Adidas is now making sneakers – not so groundbreaking news, we know, but hold on – that are city-specific.

Real athletes all over the globe, from different cities, send data to Adidas’ headquarters. These city-specific running sneakers are designed with specific needs in mind. No city, no weather and no terrain is the same, so why would a running shoe be any different?

The year is coming to a close. So, it's time to evaluate the most innovative retailers of 2018. Ready to get creative and inspired?

(Source: Adidas)

The Three Stripes is putting a strong focus on advanced manufacturing processes and research to substantially improve the performance of their sneakers. (Source: Business Insider)

The Adidas Speedfactory already created shoes for London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Shanghai. Tokyo-specific shoes are coming soon. All of these sneakers are optimized forrunning seamlessly between various city surfaces like asphalt, cobblestones, concrete, or grass”.

And, as it seems, this series of city-specific running shoes only seems to be the beginning. Adidas is implementing the latest technologies. By doing so, the company is setting an example for the future of manufacturing.

4. Sephora

The French beauty brand is omnipresent, online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Over the years, the retailer has gained a loyal following due to its wide range of beauty, skincare, and body products. But, when a customer is buying new makeup for instance, they’re not always sure whether it is the right shade or if it will show up on their skin tone.

To ease this time-consuming, expensive and messy process, Sephora has created the ‘Virtual Artist’ app. The gist? First of all, it can virtually apply makeup to your face. Secondly, it can teach you some new makeup techniques and it can show you some new looks. Thank you Augmented Intelligence!

The year is coming to a close. So, it's time to evaluate the most innovative retailers of 2018. Ready to get creative and inspired?

(Source: New York Times)

The retailer also created ‘Color IQ’. Customers can scan their face. Next, they’ll receive a reference number to find products that exactly match their skin tone. Amazing, isn’t it?

Sephora put a lot of effort into developing these technologies and it clearly pays off. They are the number one speciality beauty retailer worldwide, according to Euromonitor International. The beauty business is booming!

5. Born Originals

Born Originals, a German fashion brand, is a retailer that creates customized sneakers and leather goods. And, the sneakers they personalize are as beautiful as they are comfortable. The two strongest points of Born Originals this year? A winning social media strategy and a sneaker configurator.


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Vend highlighted the social media efforts of the German brand, especially on Instagram. As founder Melvin Lamberty, CEO and founder of the company, explains, Instagram is a powerful tool to create content and interact with your audience.

Instagram Stories is a powerful marketing tool for our brand. Users are likely to watch Stories, so we make sure they find all important release, restock and sale info there first. We often include links to make it easy for people to shop there directly, and location filters to raise brand awareness in key cities. (Source: Instagram for Business)

Secondly, Born Originals announced the launch of its sneaker configurator. Customers will be able to upload their own images, photographs, or patterns and can change the colors of their favorite pair of sneakers. The result is a stunning hand-painted and unique pair of shoes. A milestone for Born Originals and the custom sneaker scene!

Continuous transformation makes you an innovation company

Standing still won’t do you any favors. It’s no use if you, as a company, keep looking back to the past. You must face the future and the challenges that come with it. And that’s exactly what Adidas, Born Originals, Ekoplaza, IKEA and Sephora did. They decided to analyze the current trends and the needs of customers.

Going along with the latest technologies and trends is a must in retail. And, the five retailers in this list understood this very well. We’re sure we’ll definitely be hearing exciting news about them in the upcoming years. Aren’t you excited to see what they’ll be up to?

Did we forget to mention another innovative retailer? Share their creative ideas with us! And, don’t forget to share this list with your retail colleagues!