In an era where we can buy every single one of our Christmas presents without leaving the sofa, bricks-and-mortar retailers are suffering. Particularly under threat are those lovely little independent shops, the butchers and bakers and candlestickmakers that bring life to your neighbourhood – but not chops to your door. Until now.
Connecting greengrocers, fishmongers, butchers, bakeries, cake shops, cheesemongers, breweries, chocolatiers, delicatessens and a growing list of more, Hubbub allows you to do an online food shop on your local high street, buying from across the best artisan stores and producers in your area. It’s bagged our retail innovation award because we love to see digital working with IRL retail, not against it, and giving busy/lazy people a real alternative to homogeneous supermarket dinners. Run by a small but super-passionate team, Hubbub currently works across 200 postcodes in London – but we can see the service taking the country by storm before long. Long live the high street!
Highly commended: eBay Global Shipping Programme
Making the world seem significantly less enormous, eBay’s Global Shipping Programme had sellers shouting ‘at laaast!’ from the rooftops when it launched last month. Allowing eBayers to sell internationally without any of the hassle of posting abroad, the programme has opened up a huge pool of potential buyers (who don’t have to convince you they’re worth the faff and extra postage costs either). Just post to a central UK address and eBay does the rest. A simple, brilliant idea that should give the veteran auction site a new lease of life.
John Lewis JLAB
John Lewis’s JLab technology incubator spent three months nurturing five startups with the power to change the way we shop. The startups looked interesting, but we were mainly impressed with John Lewis for shaking off its mumsy image and embracing the potential of tech in retail. Never knowingly unambitious.
Bristol isn’t the first area to devise its own currency, but it is the first to put digital at the heart of the scheme. Using texts and electronic payments as well as actual cash, the Bristol Pound chimes with our ever-growing love of contactless payment and deserves a nod for its community-positive vibes.
Amazon Prime Air
Flying drones, delivering your packages – what’s not to get excited about? Amazon’s foray into the world of robot posties only really missed out on an award because it isn’t up and running yet. Watch this (air) space.
Argos AR catalogue
It’s not sexy, but Argos earned our respect this year with the way it stepped up to the challenges of the digital age. Its augmented reality catalogue wasn’t a showstopper, but it was a valiant attempt to bring a little magic back to compiling our Christmas lists.
Congratulations to Hubbub! Order yourselves a bottle of artisan fizz to celebrate, guys.