Retailers Need to Start Innovating

Retail DWBy Dave Wendland

When asked what indie retailers need to do differently in 2018, Dave says:

“Stop waiting for something to bring shoppers back to your store and start innovating. Taking advantage of the creativity and entrepreneurial roots that prompted an independent retailer to launch their business has once again become a necessity. I believe there are three ways to discover breakthrough innovation:

1) Invent something entirely new;

2) Adapt something from another business; or

3) Partner with a complementary service or product to meet an unmet customer need.”

Dave continues, “The Webster dictionary definition of innovation is The ability to be undeterred by rejection and willing to try something new thereby exhibiting a quest for discovery. For those not sure where to find inspiration, here are a few ideas:

 Look outside your operation; chances are the answer is not inside your four walls

• See something new perhaps for the very first time – look to the forest for the trees

• Drive to your store in a new way … you’ll be amazed what you may see

• Read something, specifically, something outside our industry

• Listen to some music — preferably outside your genre (I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the musical, Hamilton. It is literally taking me places I haven’t been.)

When asked what buzzword from this year he hopes will die down in 2018, Dave replies:

“Omnichannel … this term means nothing to consumers. Simply put, Omnichannel is not something that consumers can directly relate to. From where I sit, it is merely a buzzword that, by itself, does not attract, retain, or inspire shoppers. However, the concept of creating a retail experience that extends beyond brick-and-mortar is essential. Shoppers now demand ever-present, relevant, and connected retail storefronts. Whether on the Internet, via mobile, voice-activated devices, or some other enabling technology, indies must meet the consumer at every pertinent intersection — and it is this ‘always available’ expectation that will foster loyalty.”

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