What does innovation mean to retailers and brands?
What does innovation mean for your brand?
That was the first question I asked industry executives as I moderated panel discussions at The Retail Summit inaugural event in Dubai. All the panelists represented lifestyle brands – Made.com, Klasha.com and HEMA. None were U.S.-based. Each identified market opportunities on which they sought to capitalize.
Here’s how these brands are applying innovation in areas of their businesses to connect with customers, fulfill on-demand and drive growth.
Made.com is a born-on-the-web disrupter, impacting the furniture industry by offering high-end lifestyle furnishings for a fair price. When made.com opened its interactive showroom in London, it made sure it represented its brand promise. It’s beautifully laid out, featuring attractively staged scenarios, curated displays and intuitive ordering to inspire (and enable) customers. My favorite features were the swatch bar and the interactive design stations.
Klasha.com is bringing affordable fashion with fast delivery and easy payment options in local currencies to women, aged 18-28. An e-commerce platform serving the Millennial marketplace in seven African countries, Klasha is offering one- to five-day delivery to tier one and two cities, as well as to rural locations. This gets goods into the hands of customers quickly while differentiating Klasha from others in a market where typical online fulfillment can take up to 20 days. Purchases from Klasha often find their way onto Instagram.
HEMA, one of the Netherlands largest chains, operates 700+ stores in nine countries and sells 30,000 own-brand lifestyle, food and home wear products. It combines sustainability and scalability to provide innovation at scale. For example, its rompers (baby onesies) are made of sustainable cotton, organic cotton and FSC bamboo, which cause less harm to the environment. HEMA details the creation process to families via promotions and in stores with a digital activation that takes consumers on a 360-degree production journey via video, smartphone and a VR headset or goggles.
The world is full of clever brands that are identifying market opportunities to widen their reach, attract customers and grow in new markets. There’s plenty for U.S. retailers to learn outside of North America.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do retailers and brands need to do to define what innovation means to their organizations? What retailers do the best jobs of communicating their individual brand innovation?