The best retail startups in the UK

Thomas Macaulay
Thomas Macaulay

Thomas Macaulay

Tom is a senior online editor across Computerworld UK, Techworld & CIO. He studied English Literature and History at Sussex University before gaining a Masters in Newspaper Journalism from City University. He's particularly interested in the public sector and the ethical implications of emerging technologies.


Technology is fast taking over traditional high-street retail, with the uproar of online shopping and different methods of technology adopted in stores for a better shopping experience for customers.

The Amazon era of online stores and algorithmic pricing is a long way from the shop windows and cash registers that dominated retail in the 20th century.

The 1995 launches of both Amazon and eBay, and the proliferation of mobile devices and high-speed internet that followed them triggered a transformation in consumer habits.

The bursting of the dot-com bubble could only briefly stall the rise of ecommerce. High-street stores have had to learn how to survive rather than crumble under the threat of their digital-first competitors.

Gamification and interactive content have brought new life and new customers to brick-and-mortar stores by creating digitally enhanced shopping experiences.

Novelty quickly becomes normal, and shoppers keep coming back for more. According to a survey conducted by ecommerce company RichRelevance, 80 percent of UK shoppers would be happy to swap their personal data for a better customer experience.

Payment by fingerprint scanning, voice-enabled product search and order, and interactive changing rooms were among the new shopping technologies that most excited them.

The retail startups below show that there are more radical changes ready to be unleashed on the sector that will transform the future of shopping.

Read next: The UK's best-known brands bankrupted by new technology

Additional reporting by Hannah Williams.