Amazon Echo comes up top as advances in customer service and supply chain technology transform the industry.

Artificial Intelligence is powering innovation in retail, according to new rankings. Conducted in partnership with Webloyalty, Retail Insider’s Digital Retail Innovations Report 2017 recognises the top 50 retail technology initiatives of the last year, with innovations around artificial intelligence (AI) in customer communication and supply chain operations claiming numerous spots on the list.

For the second consecutive year Amazon was crowned the UK’s number one digital innovator, taking all three of the top spots. Amazon Echo topped the list with its new and improved features. The voice-driven device, better known as Alexa can answer questions and order goods, and also has an array of new capabilities such as video camera integration, with the potential to take and process pictures and feedback on outfit choices.

The retailer’s grocery store Amazon Go, which uses NFC sensors to monitor items moved from shelves and into baskets ranked second, and Amazon Logistics was listed third for its robot-filled warehouses and experimentation with drone delivery.

The Report applauded a variety of brands for their AI initiatives, including Panasonic’s robotic check outs and Shop Direct’s conversational technology in collaboration with IBM Watson. Delivery and fulfilment continued to maintain pace, with Deliveroo’s Roobox ranked fourth overall, but was less dominant, dropping from filling nine places on the 2016 report, to five in 2017.

“The various AI initiatives show how retailers are working hard to evolve customer journey. They are thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways to answer customer demand for convenience and immediacy, as well as looking for solutions to improve every step of the supply chain,” said Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty, Northern Europe.

A trend consistent with the 2016 Digital Innovations Report, is the prominence of the fashion sector, with 16 of the innovations in this year’s report being driven by fashion retailers. Ranked at number 12 is Net-a-Porter, honoured for its partnership with Whatsapp; the retailer has worked to develop a capability that enables purchases to be made directly the app.

Glynn Davis, Editor of Retail Insider, said, “Once again, this report showcases how the retail industry is evolving and utilising digital innovation to do so. Technology is progressing day by day, so it’s always a hard job to narrow our list down to just 50 In a year that’s been full to the brim with cutting edge innovation, it’s a real credit to all the retailers listed to have been honoured as ‘innovators’ by some of the industry’s leading experts.”

The innovations were scored by an advisory panel consisting of expert analysts and senior researchers from a range of companies, including Burberry, David Jones, Tesco, Planet Retail, Pinterest and Shop

Direct. The panel’s scoring was based on four criteria: innovation, commercial potential, potential influence across the sector, and potential benefit to customers.

Top 10 overall innovations
Provider Innovation
Amazon Amazon Echo
Amazon Amazon Go
Amazon Amazon Logistics
Deliveroo Deliveroo Roobox
Starbucks Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay
Mastercard Selfie payment verification
Ocado Warehouse robotics
Mercedes Drones delivery van
Jaguar In-car payments system
Amazon Amazon Dash