Digital Innovation in Retail

Work Team


The Digital Innovation in Retail Observatory was established in 2014 to analyse the impact of digital innovation in the retail sector - specifically B2B (transactions between suppliers and retailers), internal processes (retailers’ internal processes) and B2C (transactions between retailers and consumers). The Observatory intends to become a point of reference in the retail world for sharing best practice and spreading culture, alongside being the hub for meetings and constructive debate between the demand-side (retailers) and the offer-side (logistics operators, banks, ICT providers...).


The Observatory’s work consists of:

  • field research involving the main players in the market: retailers and offer-side players (logistics operators, banks, ICT providers...).
  • numerous meeting and occasions for debate:
    • two workshops with partners and sponsors to provide support in defining the topics investigated in greater detail during our research;
    • three workshops with the Advisory Board (Politecnico di Milano, partners and sponsors, main retailers) to share and discuss the findings of focus groups and to be the meeting point for supply-side and offer-side players to discuss issues of interest.
    • a public convention to present the main findings of our research, with round table sessions and talks given by major players from the retail world;
  • a paper report containing the main findings of our research, which will be distributed during the convention;
  • several online reports examining the topics analysed in our research in greater detail.


Research covers the following areas:

  • mapping the distribution of digital innovation within Italian retailers’ back-end and front-end processes and calculating the relative levels of adoption;
  • analysing omni-channel models that envisage the combined, integrated usage of physical and online channels;
  • forecasting Italian retailers’ level of investment in digital innovation and analysing the relative trends;
  • designing an indicator dashboard to evaluate the benefits deriving from digital innovation and measuring the benefits of a few selected innovations.
  • critically analysing domestic and international start-ups in the retail sector;
  • studying the governance of projects for digital innovation in the retail sector, to clarify the processes of adopting and managing these projects (the functions involved and how roles are distributed) and the priorities for investment.


Infographics 1
Infographics 20.01.2017

Digital Retail in Italy: people, technologies, experiences

Digital Innovation in Retail Observatory

Sponsorship opportunities

Every year more than 300 companies join the Digital Innovation Observatories activities, getting in touch with the corporate, institutional and academic decision makers

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For further information, collaboration and support requests for the other researches of the Digital Innovation in Retail Observatory, please contact Valentina Pontiggia (email: valentina.pontiggia@polimi.it).