New Hope Network is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

The evolving retail dance: Technology, COVID-19 and 2021

Christine Kapperman (resigned from New Hope Network December 2021)
Technology can help retailers connect with their customers even as the pandemic has altered face-to-face interactions.

Want to understand the future of retail? Check out Foxtrot in Chicago, Illinois, and Dallas, Texas. The modern convenience store presents a clicks and bricks environment that represents among the best in omnichannel retailing today.

Retail trends of the day come to life in the updated corner store as Foxtrot:

  • Puts customer convenience at the fore.
  • Presents a highly curated product selection.
  • Celebrates local makers, businesses and brands.
  • Collects and responds to deep data.
  • Blends online and in-store experiences.
  • Embraces modern simplicity.
  • And does all of this in small-format stores.

Mike LaVitola didn’t set out to build the Foxtrot you see today. His vision: an online convenience store that got orders to customers’ doors in less than an hour. Twists. Turns. Legal challenges (think liquor laws). Innovating the original plan birthed the brick-and-mortar side of Foxtrot.

Two cities and 10 stores later, investors see great opportunity in what he has built. He closed a $17 million growth round in early 2020. So watch for more stores in Chicago, Dallas and now Washington, D.C., to open this year.

Getty Imagesfuture of is retail is small

It’s almost as if S2G Ventures looked at Foxtrot as it built its model for the future of food retailing. Our features this month look at what’s changing because of the pandemic and what simply is changing, virus aside, on the retail front.

The arrival of COVID-19 last year forced fast adoption of offerings and operational changes that many have talked about and forecasted for years. Change isn’t easy. For many, it comes slowly. Until it’s forced. And, no, it still isn’t simple. But if there’s one thing 2020 showed us, it's that natural retailers are resilient.

So many haven’t wanted to make such steps. Technology seems so unnatural, so unhuman—traits we tend to loathe as natural products retailers.

Yet, retailers must use technology to make things convenient for customers and as a tool to know your customers better.

Foxtrot built its business from just such tech assistance. Convenience and data are but two key retail trends with the power to change—and grow—natural. Check out my retail predictions for the coming year.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.