Editor's letter: A look back at 2018

What a year 2018 has been for retail. It seems barely a week has gone by without some distressing news emerging from the high street. We’ve said goodbye to big names including Toys R Us, Coast and Maplin, while holding our breath for the likes of House of Fraser, New Look and Debenhams. But we’ve also seen plenty of innovation in the form of personalisation, chat bots, self-checkouts and so much more. It’s clear from our analysis of all the doom and gloom that going forward retailers must be in-tune with the digital shopper and ensure their short and long-term strategies are agile enough to survive these inclement times. At Essential Retail, we aim to bring you the insight on how to tackle and prioritise all the new technologies that keep disrupting our industry, which we will continue to do well into 2019 and beyond.

And what a busy year it has been for Essential Retail – we unveiled our new website earlier in the year and leveraged our updated look and feel to launch a series of webinars on topics including empowering the connected colleagueworking with start-ups and the subscription economy (don’t forget these are all available to listen to on demand).

We also jumped across the pond a couple of times for NRF and ShopTalk, while also accumulating a few more air miles joining retail powerhouse JD.com in China and Panasonic in Japan. And back in May we welcomed our readers to come and meet the editorial team at our very own stand at RBTE, where we recorded videos with some of the biggest names in retail. And we can’t forget our Retail Ramble podcast which has gone from strength to strength this year, rambling with the likes of Matalan, John Lewis, Dixons Carphone and many many more (what’s the industry buzzword that’s getting on your nerves?).

So after a turbulent 2018 (see how I just breezed past all the prep for GDPR? No one wants to go back there during the holiday season), all that’s left to do is to pop some mince pies in the oven to warm and pour ourselves a very well deserved glass of wine. But first, I want to say a huge thank you to our readers for joining us on our very own exciting digital transformation journey and coming back to Essential Retail week on week for the latest news and expert analysis. We look forward to serving you with more dynamic content and the very best features on the latest retail technology trends in 2019.