Has any term been overused in the last 15 years more than innovation? Some companies live and breathe it: Google. Apple. Facebook. Starbucks. Uber. Tesla. See a trend? Five of the six are tech companies. Yes, even Tesla. Why can’t we innovate quick enough in other industries like retail, travel, and manufacturing? That’s the great divide.
A Little Different Doesn’t Work
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said something that rings true: “There can be no great innovation without great risk.”
If we do the same things slightly different, we are not innovating, we are improving. Innovation involves something bigger. Something greater. And innovation does not need to be defined as strictly a technological endeavor, although granted, there is usually technology at play.
A company can be innovative in numerous ways: Allow employees access to any social-media site while at work; introduce a flexible schedule for all employees; build a company gym with state-of-the-art equipment to promote health; build a daycare on the main floor of the company.
Innovation comes in many different forms, but let’s be clear: Innovation at its core involves a completely different way of thinking or doing. While the outcome may be unclear—not everything passes or results in profits—the road to get there is, namely, do different, and do it large.
Digital Marketing and E-commerce
When it comes to innovation in digital marketing and e-commerce for your business, think of how Uber can enhance your delivery timelines with same-day deliveries. Think of how mobile adoption and shopping has scaled so quickly, and build entirely for a mobile-first attitude in everything you and your team does.
For multichannel retailers, think of beacon technology and how that can improve an in-store experience. Imagine, for an instance, you walk into a clothing store and get a push notification from the brand’s app asking what you are looking for. You say, “Jeans,” and a way-finding system shows you exactly where they are and in the color you want. You try them on in the fitting room and pay right then and there on your app. Also think of reserved parking for online pickups in store. And what about only accepting payments through a mobile wallet?
Future-Proof Your Business
Get the idea? Innovation is not a term. It’s an entirely new, phenomenally important, and sometimes scary or risky way of doing business. Do innovation well and the future is yours (hello Apple, Square, Uber, Burberry and Dollar Shave Club). Do it poorly or not at all, and well, you may as well pack up and close your doors—virtual or otherwise.
I invite you to stop what you’re doing right now. And think about one thing that can innovate your business, or one idea that can change the market, or one process that is a game-changer for your own employees. What is a way you can revolutionize your business or industry? What is your favorite example of innovation?
As the late Steve Jobs said, “Innovation is the only way to win.” Innovate now or die slowly.
I look forward to talking more about innovation with you at SOCAP’s Annual Conference, Oct. 22-25. See you in San Diego!
joined Mark’s as the associate vice president of digital marketing and ecommerce in January 2016. Previously, he worked at Bentley Leathers Inc. where he was tasked with re-launching the new, fully responsive Bentley e-commerce experience in May 2015. Prior to Bentley, he worked for Mexx Canada and Buffalo David Bitton overseeing everything from digital marketing, e-commerce, social media, operations, customer service, web design and digital analytics.