British Independent Retail Association and Vend announce UK’s 14 most innovative independent retailers


Vend and the British Independent Retail Association (Bira) have today announced a campaign called ‘Remarkable Retailers’, which underlines 14 outstanding contributions to local high streets and champions their innovative approach to retail. 

Handpicked from a long list of over 1,000 independent stores, Vend and Bira were impressed with the way these businesses use technology to create the foundation of their success. It has enabled them to build unique in-store experiences and products that are cherished by consumers.

Isle of Skye, a candle brand with five stores in Scotland, was one of the retailers selected. A passion for the environment is a theme that runs throughout their supply chain, and clever stock management with the help of technology plays a big role in the management of their environmental footprint. It helps Isle of Skye to keep track of best-selling items and produce only what is in demand.

Others, such as Hertfordshire’s Soden Style, use technology to be nimble with their presence on the high street. A pop-up launched in 2018, the store responds to consumer trends and gives shoppers unique products that are ‘of the moment’ – a model that only works with a daily analysis of what’s selling well. Responding to consumer trends and national events means Soden Style can stay current, and their first line of stock sold out in just four weeks.

In London, We Built This City stood out for its ‘artist takeover’ initiative. The store lends its windows to local artists, and hosts workshops enabling customers to design their own unique products based on the capital’s inspiration. The store says technology can boost productivity by making the more administrative tasks easier, awarding the staff time to focus on innovation and making the shopping experience memorable and fun.

Vend and Bira handpicked the independent stores for their stand-out approach to retail – whether that be a unique approach to the customer experience, their products or the way that they use technology. here.

Higor Torchia, UK country manager at Vend, said: “These Remarkable Retailers differentiate themselves by their unique products and customer experiences, but are united by their innovative use of retail technology to support their success.

“Each retailer’s use of cloud-based software allows them to manage inventory on-the-go, as well as run clever reporting analytics that gain insight on customer loyalty and what’s selling well. It means the retailers have more time to focus on creating winning formulas to ensure that local high streets can thrive.”

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, added: “The UK’s high streets are a vital part of the local communities they service, and it’s independent retailers who ensure that they remain places full of personality. The 14 Remarkable Retailers we’ve selected in partnership with Vend innovate to stay ahead of economic and cultural trends, whether that’s in the customer experiences they offer, the goods they sell or the way they use technology. All of the retailers are inspiring examples to the wider sector and demonstrate the amazing things that small retail businesses are capable of.”