Winners are Converters, Not Innovators !
Throughout history in business, it seems that the real winners are not the ones that invent the wheel, but those that convert, improve and fine tune.
First to market does not mean best. Apple did not invent the mobile phone, they simply took an exisiting, innovative product and impoved on it.
Microsoft did not invent an opertaing system for computers, they just took exisiting software to the next level.
Google did not invent the internet search engine. They perfected it.
So, what does all of this mean in business today? What does it mean in retail? I don't think we should be trying to re-invent our businesses, but rather working on improving and fine tuning. In our business we don't do anything that is new or innovative. We work at improving existing business practices, improving cusotmer service, improving marketing and display options and fine tuning all aspects of our business to challenge our own thinking and stay in front.
Retail is much the same. I have seen differnt attempts to change retail at store level, to change the consumer experience or completely remodel retail when it really seems the best changes to retailing are the ones that take a proven model and convert and improve on it.
If you have ideas about improving retail, converting existing methods of selling, changing displays from traditional in store ways, improving customer service or engaging staff in your business, then now is the time to start putting it into practice and sharing ideas with some of your fellow retailers. I don't mean you should talk to a competitor about improving their service, but rather use your network you are already in, be it a marketing or buying group, or shops in your centre or strip that can benefit from working together to "convert" to better retailing.
An example comes to mind where we took an existing, simple retail display tool, the humble dump bin, and simply changed our way of thinking about what should be displayed in a dump bin. Now, mobile phones are being sold in our retailers using this simple and cost effective method.
Have you "converted" the way you retail?