As the retail landscape changes seemingly daily, what does the future of innovation in retail look like?
As retail continues to fight battles on multiple fronts, new perspectives are needed to approach the challenges and opportunities they face. But where do these ideas come from? The answer is under their own roof.
Innovation in retail will only happen when those at the front-lines are involved. Employees closest to the business processes, combined with the customers that consume their products, continue to stand out as the strongest source of these ideas. And combined with the use of idea management software, they can be the ones to help organizations not just survive, but thrive.
Create New and Disruptive Products
The best business management ideas often come from the most unlikely of places. Take Amazon Prime, one of the most disruptive offers created in the history of innovation in retail, which was submitted by a software engineer named Charlie Ward via Amazon’s online suggestion program.
Improve Brand Loyalty
Asking customers for their input makes them feel a deeper connection to your brand and helps build trust between you and the consumer. According to PWC, 32% of online shoppers remain loyal to their favorite retailers because they trust the brand.
Employees who are executing on your strategy everyday are more likely to see ways to reduce redundancy, errors, and other inefficiencies. For example, a Costco employee suggested a minor change to a products packing from a round to square canister, resulting in the company saving 560 truckloads per year for one product!
Increase Employee Retention
More than 50% of unengaged employees are planning to change jobs in the next year, versus 10% of engaged employees. What’s more, companies asking employees for their input and formalizing an employee engagement program enjoy 233% greater customer loyalty, according to Aberdeen.
Optimize Store Layout
Employees on the floor get to watch how customers interact with your products on a daily basis. This unique vantage point gives them the ability to provide ideas and insights that you won’t be able to get from looking at data on a spreadsheet.
Create more Customer-Centric Products
Getting new ideas for products from customers has been the most commonly used applications of crowdsourcing in retail. Countless retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Starbucks, Gap, and Levi’s have employed this strategy as a way to conduct voice of customer research while also increasing brand loyalty.
Retail isn’t short on the challenges it is facing. But with a new set of tools, focus, and a little planning, front-line employees and customers can be the driving force for innovation in retail for years to come.