5 Feb 2018, 13:05 — 5 min read
Innovation is a buzzword that continues to dominate boardroom discussions. Facing relentless competition and disruption on multiple fronts, retailers and brands know they must push toward intelligent advancement to stay a step ahead of their customers’ constantly evolving expectations and their shareholders’ demands.
At its core, innovation means change, and progressive retailers and brands realise they must shift their strategies, processes and overall mindset. This is the most challenging time in the industry’s history, and it is only getting more complex. While the path ahead is difficult at times, there are consistent strategies in place that characterise the most advanced and innovative retail organisations.
Empowered teams, fast decisions
Progressive companies that consistently deliver great results are often operated by management teams that seek new opportunities through obsessively analysing the details and data of their business. They tolerate the discomfort of change and incomplete knowledge, but compensate for that with nimble decisions based on a constantly updated view of their business and the market.
Those that lean the furthest forward constantly look for tools and frameworks to give their entire team an advantage, not just management. They are on a quest toward improving their team’s ability to compete, innovate and repeatedly make smarter and faster decisions in a business that shows no signs of slowing down.
A connected culture
While an organisation’s culture starts at the top, it also bubbles up from the bottom. In an industry where complexity, speed and competition are ever increasing, successful cultures value the actions of many independent decision-makers across the organisation. Consistent and connected views of the business’s performance are critical to unite the organisation across all levels, from the showroom to the boardroom. Once this information is communicated, employees can then interact on a set of interrelated subtasks that constantly drive to meet the plan.
Focus on the future
Innovative companies know how success is measured. They are relentlessly evaluating areas of the business that are not aligned to meet those success criteria. They focus on future innovations and are never satisfied to rest on their laurels.
Retailers and brands today welcome the challenges presented by the exciting, engaging and increasingly demanding consumer, as they are constantly driving innovation beyond what retailers had ever dreamed of. The best companies are never satiated. Innovative leaders must live in a constant state of restlessness that keeps the entire organisation focused on being greater tomorrow than it is today.
Technology that drives innovation
Beyond consumer shifts, technology is the greatest single catalyst propelling retail forward at a blistering speed. The challenge for every retail executive is understanding the benefit of the technology and how it will impact business as it relates to the organisation’s objectives. If technology is clearly part of a business imperative and is endorsed fully by the executive team, the entire organisation will adopt the philosophy in order to reach a higher level of operation. The rising value of advanced retail analytics systems, not just workflow accelerating software, is requiring executives to rethink how their own management paradigms will need to change to lead a blend of human-driven and machine-driven decisions.
Retail is a business of people, and the top retail companies realise that their very best people will be the future of their business. Whether they are in charge of customer interaction or managing any point along the product or customer journey, the next generation of great retail will certainly spawn from the careful enablement of people with better tools to operate the business.
Finally, irrespective of the nature of the retail organisation, a nimble leadership and culture, as well as an employee base empowered by technology, are the vital elements to embarking on a journey not only toward innovation, but also securing a successful (and profitable) future.
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Article by John Squire, CEO of DynamicAction published in STOrai Magazine
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.