What does ‘innovation’ really mean in retail?

Innovation and Disruption: Industry experts weigh in on what it means

For those working in ecommerce, or are followers of tech related news, seemingly abstract buzzwords such as ‘innovation’ and ‘disruption’ often come up in research articles or in speeches. This article weighs in on what ‘innovation’ really means in relation to retail. Although peppered with US retail references, a lot of the content can be transferred to the Southeast Asian retail commerce landscape as well. 


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For industry experts, innovation in retail seemingly revolved around ‘the customer’. This is what innovation in retail means to experts:

  1. Bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce: Although this has become somewhat predictable, innovation in retail means being able to evolve with the way technology has changed consumer behaviour. Retailers should not operate brick & mortar and ecommerce as two separate companies.
  2. Innovation should not just be an idea or a prototype, it’s about when you deliver an idea successfully to the market. Implement this mindset at the office, such as hosting hackathons to promote new ideas.
  3. Predicting problem points: This comes from knowing your customer so well that you are able to identify friction points between the process.
  4. Thinking about what the store means: It is about is evaluating the role of the store in the new age of ecommerce. What can people get out of stores, mobile commerce and ecommerce? Thinking about what needs to be delivered when people come into stores is important in this day and age.
  5. Innovating with data: Innovation is bringing a data driven approach to ideas. Tracking behaviours, seeing their motivation provides actionable insight. Data can also help create more personalized experiences.
  6. Creating sustainable solutions

Find the full article here.