The Role of Preparation in Retail Innovation

In our role as retail consultants for hundreds of companies we have noticed that for the most forward thinking retailers, innovation is not any single idea or action. It’s an approach, a process that must be repeated day in and day out. Preparation is a major part of this process, and the most highly innovative retailers prepare extensively for every new decision, campaign, or greater objective they enact. They plan out comprehensive roadmaps for merchandising, store expansion, technology advancement, financial forecasts, hiring, and all other operational challenges. In practice, this means working with property managers to prepare for increases in traffic or parking needs. It means forecasting fluctuations in demand weeks and months in advance so that supply chain partners are ready for changes. It requires working with web hosting partners so that servers can accommodate increased online activity prior to scaling. Even tasks as mundane as having a backup plan in case an outdoor promotion is rained out are important preparatory steps in keeping a retail business running smoothly.

While successful retailers may shoulder large burdens for their companies when it comes to retail innovation, they certainly understand that they cannot go it alone. Their business needs the buy-in of employees, partners, suppliers, and fulfillment partners, and they need the brand loyalty of their customers. Keeping these parties engaged requires communication, and that means taking steps to prepare them for change. These steps can include things from creating company positions with “Innovation,” in the job title to simply giving loyal customers advance notice of coming product changes. The best retailers are always prepared and they ensure everyone around them is, too.

As the purchasing power of millennials grows with each passing year, retail businesses will need to become more dynamic to appeal to these younger, change-hungry customers. While older generations have historically been change-averse, millennials often demand that companies quickly innovate as tastes and technologies advance. The retail climate is rapidly evolving which means if your business doesn’t evolve with it you could end up falling behind the curve. The most innovative retailers go through great pains to craft detailed plans for the future and they prepare everyone in the scope of their operation for the execution of these plans while also empowering them to innovate (and prepare) on their own.

Does your business have an innovation plan? Do you prepare extensively and exhaustively? At Sophelle, we can take your business to the next level by helping you master the cause and effect relationship between preparation and innovation. Call us today and we can get started.