Innovation is not the preserve of start ups and entrepreneurs, nor is it a technology to purchase. Innovation is what moves sectors and businesses forward. It’s something to aspire to, a light bulb moment, planned strategy or result of insight and focus on the changing customer. From new ideas listened to at every level of the organisation, through to a digital lab, it shows a willingness and ability by the business to adapt, experiment and keep in tune with the pulse of its customers rather than remain at a fi xed point. Innovation isn’t new, it’s something that the top retailers do to remain relevant to the time in which they are operating.
Without innovations and transformation, Lego would still be making wooden toys for the Danish market, department stores would turn off the lights in their windows at closing time and shoppers would go to a grocery shop with a shopping list and be served by someone behind a counter.
The companies that are doing well realise that the world continues to change. There is no fi xed point in terms of processes, technology, operations, logistics or thinking. They are training staff and using technology in a way that enhances their brand and shopping experience but also innovate to bring out the best of the experience and enhance it to stay top of mind with customers and front of wallet to remain one of the fi rst sites or stores those customers visit.
In the way that young children swipe a finger across a television screen to change a channel and wonder why it hasn’t altered, customers shouldn’t have to think about any part of their purchase journey. “It just works” is a compliment given to Amazon and a sign of a retailer that has its strategy, technology, staff, operations and logistics aligned to the continually changing needs of the customers.
The rewards are self evident for retailers that reach that point and continue to change.