As an eCommerce and Digital Marketing leader, mainly on the client side for 15+ years, I’m always trying to find ways to balance my curiosity around shiny cool technologies and practical innovations that lead to great return on investment.
With last week’s wrap up of Retail’s Big Show #NRF2018, I was inspired by technologies that solve problems, remove impediments, and make life easier for your employees and the end consumer. “Getting back to basics with innovation,” was the theme woven throughout the course of the show and in my recap of takeaways below, I explore people, technology and innovation ideas sparked from NRF 2018. You can find the full version of my 4 part series of takeaways from the show on TC Rock.
1) Always Put People First
Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart delivered a nice overview of how to create a people-first strategy:
- Make your employees feel valued
- Take care of the basics create growth opportunity for your employees
What a great reminder that the first people you take care of in your people-first strategy are your employees. As Monesh Vora, Co-Founder of Museum of Ice Cream stated, “Just look at Outdoor Voices. If the people who work there want to be there, you want to be there”.
2) Keep it simple in the front, sophisticated in the back
Remember the Mullet?
I know, who could forget?!
When it comes to technology, “Keep it simple in the front and sophisticated in the back”, said James Curleigh, Executive Vice President and President of the Levi’s® brand. Technology doesn’t always have to be consumer facing. There are plenty of sophisticated technologies that can be implemented in the back of your retail store, freeing up your consumer facing employees to provide the best brand experience.
3) Create a Culture of Innovation
How do you meet the needs and expectations of today’s customers, while creating innovative solutions and products to keep you in the game for years to come?
I’ve worked with several companies who have done this well and others who have struggled. It is clear that in order to foster a culture of innovation, you must remember the following:
- Innovation is not project based; it’s a process of continuous improvement and evolution
- Cover your basics first – without them, innovative ideas will not realize full potential
- Award winning ideas
- Celebrate risks taken – regardless of outcome
4) What Am I Jazzed About?
Retail’s Big Show, NRF 2018 has excited me to explore some technologies with my clients that are providing some amazing upticks in core key performance indicators. My top three involve AI that is increasing ROAS by 336%, ideas around practical application for AR, and a machine learning company that is helping David’s Teas to crush their email goals.
I welcome you to explore these topics further and share with us, your excitement around people, technology, and innovation for retail 2018.