Innovation for the sake of innovation might not be the answer to building your business.
And yet today as we scan the business world, it would seem that the opposite is true – innovate or disappear.
So what’s the truth?
The truth about successful innovation is “it depends.” And it depends on your current customer and the potential consumer base.
Your business strategy needs to build on what the consumer desires. The consumer in question though is not only today’s but the person who has not yet shopped at your store as well as the consumer of tomorrow. It must balance existing customers with consumers at large.
Successful innovation also includes lead time and a crystal ball.
Innovation doesn’t just happen. Even if you have a great idea, it will take several tries to get it right. So you need time to plan, develop and successfully integrate new ideas into your strategy.
And because time is moving forward, you also need your crystal ball to help select an innovation strategy that matches the forward path your consumer base will probably take.
A recent example of an attempted innovation that didn’t keep the customer in mind was the J. C. Penny focus on changing its business model from one of regular sales to one of fewer sales, lower regular prices, and a different product mix.
The idea failed as the new idea was not what existing customers desired nor did was it attractive to people who were not regular shoppers at the stores. It may have been a workable idea but perhaps the marketing effort didn’t connect. Reuters wrote about the experience, “Innovation is great for any business, but when that innovation upsets your customers, it’s time to put customer experience first.”
Bottom line, innovation is required for a business to remain sustainable. But the innovation must enhance your customer’s experience with your business. Fail to do that and you will fail.
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