It is impossible to talk about the future of retail without mentioning Amazon, and over the last couple of years the Bezos machine has set its steely gaze more resolutely on the fashion industry.
Amazon faces challenges: many brands remain unconvinced about selling on the site, because of its proficiency in function over form and stripped-back aesthetic, which are at odds with more image-conscious fashion retailers. Despite this, 2018 showed plenty of evidence of its impressive innovation. It launched a “try before you buy” service in the UK, posted record profits in its third quarter, led the way with visual search, is pioneering the use of robots alongside humans at its distribution centres, and announced plans to add 1,000 research and development jobs as it opens a new Manchester office.
Meanwhile, its fashion pop-up on London’s Baker Street ensured it continued its creep into the world of physical retail.