Just like all other industries, retail has to innovate and think outside of the box if brands want to differentiate on the market and stay ahead of the curve. However, innovation practices and innovative company cultures are not as straightforward in retail as in some other industries such as tech.
As a retail brand owner, here is what you can do to foster innovation in your company:
Lead by Example
As with any other behaviour within a company, it’s more likely that employees will follow a behavioral pattern if the CEO or founder of the company is known to do the same. This can reflect positively and negatively: for example, if a CEO encourages toxic, competitive workplace structures, employees are likely to follow the lead.
In an opposite example, if a CEO (founder) shows they're not afraid to think outside of the box, take risks and collaborate with other disruptive thinkers, the employees are more likely to take the same path.
Produce Clear Documentation for Your Employees
Technical guides and documentation can significantly help your employees decipher behaviors and actions that are frowned upon, as well as those that are encouraged.
If you want to foster innovation across all your departments, make sure you produce a straightforward guide that will explain both new and existing employees the dos and don`ts of working within your organization. You can use some of the following services for help:
- BeGraded – a portal for writers who can work on any assigned topic
- Google Docs – to make communication and collaboration easier within your team
- WriteScout – comparison of different writing services
- Slack – a team collaboration tool that you can use to encourage innovation and teamwork
Make Innovation a Part of Your Culture
Innovation as part of company culture is not a cliche – it's actually something that's very rarely present in day-to-day operations of retail organizations. More than in any other industry, the “don’t rock the boat” mindset is present in retail across all departments and teams.
In other words, if your retail company is more likely to promote and celebrate the status quo and focus on things that are going well exclusively – it’s likely that innovation and idea-sharing is not part of your company culture.
“You have to teach your employees that the benefit of sharing ideas and potentially succeeding will always outweigh the costs of potential failures. It might sound like a cliché, but failed attempts in realization of an idea are just steps to ultimate success. This is something your employees have to be aware of as well”, says Helene Cue, a writer at Subjecto.
Attract the Right People and Build High-Performing Teams
Talent management doesn’t stop after a person is hired, but it’s definitely one of the most crucial steps in the process. If you want to attract talented, fast-thinking people who are capable of innovation, you will have to offer plenty in return. Think about how you will differentiate from other competitors on the market in terms of employer reputation.
Finally, when you hire a sufficient number of staff members who are highly competent and innovative, the next step is to form top-performing teams. Either by yourself or with the help of an HR professional, figure out who works best with whom in order to provide them with the perfect environment where they can produce ideas in the most effective way.
Make it Easy to Share Ideas
We already mentioned some of the structures and tools that you can utilize to promote easy sharing of ideas, but it’s also important that you manage to create an organizational hierarchy that enables any staff member to approach superiors with an idea, with no negative repercussions.
“Many great ideas go to waste in big organizations because it’s simply difficult to reach decision-makers and actually have enough time for a decent pitch. That’s why innovation is the basis of company culture in organizations where staff members can approach the CEO or managers with an idea without doubt or fear”, says Melanie Sovann, a content writer at Studyker.
With the right tools and relatively effortlessly, you can go a long way in promoting innovation and encouraging new ideas in your retail brand. Just make sure innovative thinking is a part of your company culture, embedded into the everyday workflow.
Estelle Liotard is a writer who’s currently working as a content marketing specialist as ClassyEssay and a regular contributor at TopEssayWriting. She’s an expert on SEO, digital marketing and eCommerce, and loves sharing her knowledge with fellow writers and marketers.