NRF Big Show is aptly named—it’s a BIG show. Easy to get lost amongst the myriad of shiny new technology solutions and buzzwords of the day, our CommerceNext co-founder, Veronika Sonsev, tracked down four attendees representing leading direct to consumer retailers (Foot Locker, Party City, Teuful Audio and Jet.com) to find out how they stay focused in the face of all the noise, all while having to compete with the master of ecommerce innovation Amazon. Despite these four retailers’ different product areas, all of them had four common threads throughout their innovation strategies.
First, serving as a tech golden rule of sorts—never innovate just to innovate. Rather, hone in on specific business challenges, then investigate solutions that address that specific problem, and test to your heart’s desire. Modernizing core competencies, increasing revenue and advancing the customer experience are all top priorities for these retailers when evaluating new technology integrations.
Second golden rule of innovation: innovation is everyone’s job. Innovation teams, while great in theory, can’t get the job done alone without the support and buy in from all other teams, particularly the executives. Foot Locker has a very specific 3-tiered approach to ensuring every team incorporates long-term thinking into their goals. It also helps to not restrict budget when it comes to testing, as financial constraints can indicate relative unimportance compared to other business areas.
Third tip: do what you know well and partner on everything else. These direct to consumer retailers see such success because they don’t reach too far beyond their own core competencies and capabilities.
Fourth and final innovation mantra: experimentation is good (within reason)! Foot Locker, Teuful and Jet.com actively cultivate a culture of innovation by encouraging experimentation ideas from all employees. They may not encourage failure outright, but they certainly don’t punish it.
This article was originally published in Forbes: How Leading Retailers Innovate In The Age Of Amazon. You can also dig in deeper by reading the full article below.
Last week, the NRF Big Show returned to NYC. With over 36,500 attendees and 700+ exhibitors crammed into the Javits Center, it is easy to become caught up in the newest and flashiest technology has to offer. With so many solutions out there, I wondered how retailers approach innovation and make decisions about technology investments?