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‘Retailers with a process for innovation will find success’

The pace of technological, demographic and behavioural evolution is accelerating so quickly that anyone who pretends to know what the store of the future will look like might find the answer has already changed.

But it’s clear that retailers with a process in place that allows for constant innovation will be in the best position for success, no matter what the future holds.

However, most retailers do not have any formal process for improving their in-store experience. They simply take a linear approach to innovation, starting with one idea – potentially straight from the chief executive’s mouth – and moving it all the way to implementation.

Having taken so long on the implementation, losing both time and money, they find their rivals are already riding high on the next wave of change with improvements to their customer experience.

Instead, retailers should learn from how they bring products to market. Product teams start with about 25 ideas and have a robust process, incorporating customer and employee insights, industry trends and a sense of the brand vision, to quickly agree on the winning ideas.

So to be best placed for the future, you should focus less on the end and more on the means.

  • Sue Butler, Director of management consultancy Kurt Salmon

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