Over 350 retail executives attended the first ever Innovation in Retail Summit in February – sponsored by Grant Thornton, Telstra, Microsoft and National Online Retailers’ Association.

With a focus on Innovating for Advantage in a landscape that’s changing at lightning speed, this summit delivered practical real-life examples of how innovation needs to be “just how you do business”. 

World leading experts on innovation and disruption including Mike Arauz founder of August, Telstra, Microsoft and Ipsos, as well as retailers leading the way on innovation such as  McDonald’s, Luxottica, Australia Post, Co-Op Bookstores, Jurlique and all key retail industry bodies, shared the following key messages.

  1. Progress over perfection.Speed and agility to market is more important than a perfect product. Get your idea 80% formulated and let your customers complete the process to iron out any issues. You’ll get valuable feedback from doing this from the people that matter: your customers.
  2. Customer centricity. Make the customer centre of innovation. Assess each new innovation or technology with the question “does it make my relationship with my customer better?” If not why are we doing it?
  3. Simple over complex. Some of the best innovations of the day were the simplest. For example, after listening to customer’s feedback, including social media spikes about making or missing the 10.30am breakfast cut-off, McDonald’s customers can now buy a McMuffin all day. Value has been given to the customer and sales have increased 5.7% (Company Statement issued January 2016 USA). 
  4. Innovation is everywhere. While the largest retailers can afford the luxury of innovation hubs, the majority need it to feed through their people in the business. Some of the best innovations shared on the day, even for retailer with innovation hubs, have come from the people who interact directly with the customer, or who are customers themselves. Make your employees brand ambassadors and customer advocates to feed the innovation journey. 

Innovation is a constant to retail success. Our new Consumer products & retail Insights publication focuses on many areas in which retailers can innovate. Our Consumer products & retail team are happy to discuss the above topics with you in more detail, and share further experiences and ideas on innovation in retail.