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The 10 most innovative retail companies are …

Baby gear retailer Lalo is one of the brands on Fast Company’s ranking of “The Top 10 Most Innovative Retail Companies of 2023”

From a Swiss athletic brand with a subscription program that provides customers with a new pair of running shoes every six months and recycles their old ones to a website for buying and trading — and reading influencer content about — new and vintage watches, Fast Company’s ranking of “The Top 10 Most Innovative Retail Companies of 2023” shows the changing nature of retail innovation.

Only one legacy retailer made the list: tween and teen girl’s fashion accessories chain Claire’s.

Here is a brief review of the Fast Company 2023 retail rankings. (Click here for the full story.)

1. On: For creating a perfectly circular system for serious runners
(On is a Swiss athletic footwear and apparel brand that targets competitive runners. In 2022, the company launched a subscription service, with an innovative circular business model. Customers can receive new shoes every six months while their old ones are recycled.)

2. Claire’s: For reviving a legacy brand beloved by generations of tweens
The 50-year-plus young girls’ accessories retailer is seeing a big resurgence as it targets higher-end malls and high-traffic shopping streets. It has also entered into in-store partnerships with merchants that range from Walmart and Macy’s to Kroger and Albertsons.

3. Squarespace: For giving creators e-commerce tools
(A website building and hosting company, Squarespace launched dozens of new products last year designed to provide creatives with new revenue streams. It now allows users to create custom merchandise via a new partnership with Printful, which powers production, shipping, and fulfillment.)

4. Lalo: For waking up the sleepy baby products industry
(Lalo — short for Love All Little Ones — is a direct-to-consumer brand offering design-oriented products for babies and toddlers. The company entered physical retail in late 2021, opening an experiential store in New York City, complete with baby-friendly activities and a café for hosting birthday parties.)

5. Focal Systems: For cutting out the most laborious tasks for back-end retail workers
(Focal Systems helps grocery stores monitor their inventory through a system of cameras that scan shelves on an hourly basis. Customers include Walmart Canada.)

6. Jenni Kayne: For filling our homes with well-designed, timeless products
(Inspired by the West Coast lifestyle, the high-end apparel and home-goods has expanded with its own line of indoor and outdoor furniture and also launched an interior design service. To date, it has opened 20 stores, along with a design studio to showcase its furniture and services.)

7. Hodinkee: For blending content and commerce for watch lovers
(Hodinkee doubles both an editorial and e-commerce site for new and vintage watches. The company sells watches priced from $40 to $150,000. Customers can also buy and sell pre-owned watches, which are authenticated in-house.)

8. Loop: For simplifying returns
The Shopify-integrated return-management software company simplifies the returns process for consumers and also works with retailers to resell, upcycle, and recycle returned products that can’t be restocked.)

9. Studs: For creating an immersive experience for people who love piercings
Designed to reimagine the traditional mall ear-piercing experience, Studs offers ear piercing (by needle as opposed to piercing guns) in stylish-looking, Instagram-worthy spaces. The company operates some 16 stores, with more to come, along with an e-commerce website featuring its trendy earring assortment.

10. GoodMaps: For helping us find our way around the mall
The GoodMaps app provides a real-time, turn-by-turn navigation experience that enables anyone to find their way within any indoor or outdoor space. The company entered retail in 2022 via a partnership with British supermarket chain Asda, implementing 12 stores with its technology. The app can direct customers to key departments and also specific products.

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