Developing a Culture of Innovation in Retail

Retail is different today than it was 5 years ago. Retail changes on a daily basis minute by minute.

Change is driven by the consumer who demands and should receive the best possible customer service. This level of customer service is more important than ever today as consumers are savvy shoppers and demand the best possible value for their hard earned dollar.

It is this hard earned dollar that retailers are chasing, but they should not be. Instead retailers should be focused on building long-term relationships with customers even if they do not make a purchase that day. When a customer spends their hard earned income on non-discretionary items they want to feel good about the purchase.

They do not want to feel like the retailer did not care or had a stiff upper lip. This is the mistake that is made by countless numbers of luxury companies who do not understand nor care to understand customer service. Instead, these retailers are focused on the prestige of their brands. It’s the prestige of their brands that can lead to a decrease in sales if the employees do not embrace honest customer service and the organization does not innovate.

Customer Service and Innovation in most retail organizations starts from the top and trickles down. But it should not, instead it should start from the front-line employees and work it’s way up the organization organically or as needs arise in different departments.

Executives in Retail Organizations have to ask themselves if we are making the right changes? Will these changes benefit our customers or are they only going to benefit the organization? If the changes will only benefit the organization and satisfy egos, it is time to rethink the business.

As a retail organization implements change that will benefit the customer, executives should develop and implement a management structure that assigns more responsibility to the employees who interact with the customers on a daily basis. It is these front line employees who can identify trends, implement new ideas and help the organization innovate all the while benefiting the customer.

Innovation in an organization must start with the employees who interact with the customers on a daily basis. These employees are the ones who can provide direct insight into customer habits and offer solutions that will benefit the organization on a daily basis. Management should allow for these employees to take risks, be creative, and make real-time decisions on their own.

The decisions made by these employees on a daily basis should help the organization to increase sales, customer retention and ensure the overall happiness of the customer.