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Photo Credit: Taco Bell Corp.

Announcing Retail Innovations 2023: Taco Bell Defy Wins McMillanDoolitte’s Innovation Award

We are pleased to announce the release of Retail Innovations 2023, our annual publication highlighting the leading edge of global retail. For almost two decades, McMillanDoolittle has been tracking innovative retail trends and concepts in collaboration with our Ebeltoft Group partners, a consortium of leading retail and brand consulting firms active in 22 mature and emerging markets. Click here to download a copy of this year’s book, and please contact us to discuss how to transform today’s leading retail ideas into fuel for your company’s innovation engine. We are always here to help your retail business succeed in the future.


Image Source: Ebeltoft Group

Retail Innovations 2023 (RI2023) highlights 48 case studies representing three distinctive themes:

  • Hyper-efficiency: Leaders in this category provide customers with an easy and convenient omnichannel experience through advanced business processes and capabilities. Many of these cases create new technology-based solutions for back-end operations, removing friction and streamlining operations to serve team members and customers.
  • An Enhanced Experience: Leaders in this category create a differentiated and memorable brand experience. These concepts garner consumer excitement and in many cases create an interactive community surrounding the products and services they sell, allowing customers to interact in a new way. With the growing popularity of the metaverse, digital environments are being developed for this purpose.
  • A Better World: Leaders in this category create retail solutions that limit the impact on society. New concepts, processes, technologies, and even entirely new business models are emerging to move the needle on creating a more sustainable global retail industry that makes a difference in the local communities they serve.

The impressive retailers and brands featured in this year’s publication are boldly navigating heightened consumer demands stemming from the global pandemic.

Taco Bell Defies Expectations

Alongside the release of RI2023, we are pleased to announce this year’s McMillanDoolittle Innovation Award winner: Taco Bell Defy. In June 2022, Taco Bell launched a next-generation drive-thru format in Minnesota, USA to foster efficient and contactless experiences. The two-story format delivers food directly from the kitchen to its customers via elevator technology familiar to consumers from retail banking. The delivery lanes fast-track customers that order ahead on the Taco Bell app, reducing the time between arrival, order fulfillment, and departure to two minutes or less.

pick up window

Photo Credit: Taco Bell Corp.

The concept also delivers contactless convenience that pandemic-era consumers have come to expect.

In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting thought-provoking cases from each of the three thematic categories that emerged from this year’s class of international submissions. Stay tuned for these case briefs being published on #ThemeThursday in the weeks to come. You can also follow along and join the conversation by commenting or messaging us on our Instagram account.  There, you can get more immersed in interactive content surrounding this year’s retail innovations.

Ava Buechel

Ava provides market and consumer research, planning, and analysis support for McMillanDoolittle retail consulting projects. Her experience in marketing, digital transformation, brand strategy, and retail innovation brings an updated perspective in the fast-paced business climate of today.

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