Digital Innovation in Retail

Work Team


The Digital Innovation in Retail Observatory is concerned with studying the main digital innovations that can reshape the processes used by retailers, with the ultimate aim of sharing knowledge and creating wide-spread culture in this field.


The Observatory's planned actions for 2018 are:

  • Field research involving the main players in the market, including the leading retailers (the first 300 retailers by turnover), medium-sized and small retailers and offer-side players (logistics operators, banks, ICT providers, etc.).
  • Numerous meetings and occasions for debate::
    • a workshop with the Observatory’s partners and sponsors, who will work alongside us to define the topics that will be investigated in greater detail during our research;
    • 3 workshops with the retailer, Partner, and Sponsor Community to share and discuss Research results and enable interaction and comparison between demand and offering opportunities;
    • 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 2018 research, which will be distributed during the convention.
  • Several in-depth online reports on the topics addressed during our research in 2018.


2018 research develops in the following areas:

  • study the evolution of the Retail context and infrastructure in Italy and the world, focusing on main current trends and on the variables that are bringing the greatest changes to the sector;
  • study governance models, the roles and competences required to manage and implement innovation and quantify the investment in digital innovation among top and medium-small Italian retailers, pre- final balance for 2018, final results for 2017, and growth trends;
  • provide a snapshot of the state of the art in Italy and the world, and adoption level (in Italy) of digital innovation in front-end and back-end processes for medium-small retailers, focused on some of the more innovative trends such as IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence;
  • study the presence and type of online and mobile initiatives of top Italian retailers and examine advanced omnichannel courses more in depth, that is, that aim for the combined and integrated use of stores and digital channels;
  • analyze the evolution of the point of sale and measure the impact that front-end digital advancements and omnichannel integration have on the in-store customer experience;
  • analyze startups, both retailer and hi-tech service providers, at national and international level to delineate innovation drivers and to identify successful Open Innovation mechanisms;
  • modelling through case studies, radical and incremental innovations observed in the in & out of the store customer journey, looking into digital technology’s enabling role in creating consumer value;
  • observe and study user behaviors (digital and not) and reactions to specific innovations or Retail solutions.


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

More Details

Partners and Sponsors

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).