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Innovation: Impact & Results

You’ve repeatedly seen the word innovation in the past few blog posts, learning how it impacts businesses, consumers, and the retail industry as a whole. You’ve also read about the numerous opportunities and challenges that it brings, understanding that the sole act of innovation doesn’t end with the item, system, or platform itself.

Once businesses have released the innovation, it is in the hands of consumers, to be adopted into everyday life. And consumers are hooked on these things that change the very way they go about their lives, from shopping to the more mundane tasks of life. For example, consumers love to ask Google Home what the weather is instead of manually going to an app or watching CNN. They’re thrilled to order more paper towels and soap on Prime Pantry rather than going to the local Duane Reade to buy them. They’re relieved to order dinner on Seamless from their phones without having to go out on a rainy night or call in an order.

Yet still, even with the added ease of the Google Homes and Seamlesses of the world, consumers want more. They want more simplicity, more automation, more ease-of-use. The less they have to do, the better. Meaning: they want more innovation.

Once a business implements a new innovation, they cannot sit back and be done. They have to be constantly iterating on that innovation.

And keeping that innovation alive and relevant can be even more challenging than implementing it in the first place.

Once implemented, these businesses have to first learn what to do to improve on their newest systems. But how? They base their changes on customer behavior – whether or not they’re 1) purchasing the product 2) engaging with the product and 3) complaining about the product. How a business address these behaviors can always differ, but the types of iterations could be a system update, a new feature announcement, or new branding, to name a few. However, gains from innovation from the company’s perspective aren’t always immediate.

Amazon is a great example of this, starting out as just an online bookstore. They lost revenue for years and are only now beginning to turn a profit, even as one of the most talked about companies. Recode stated, “It took Amazon 18 years as a public company to catch Walmart in market cap, but only two more years to double it”. So what’s been the secret to their success? They decided to focus on gaining market share by creating new solutions for their customers. And they were willing to be patient in the development of these solutions.

The Echo took years to perfect, but became one of the fastest paced pre-ordered items. Tech Insider wrote “One of the early employees said Echo hit a million pre-orders in less than two weeks, a far better pace than the iPhone, which took about 70 days to reach the same milestone.” And while Amazon didn’t share their sales data publicly, the item and its many updated iterations have been consistently a best seller. The Echo sold today isn’t the same as the one that originally came out. It has new features, better processing, and is easier to use, keeping up with the expectations of the consumers.

If Amazon wasn’t constantly at work on Echo, it would be quickly out-paced by Google, Apple products, or other competitors in the space. Innovation must be a constant in business, with changes based on product performance, customer behavior, and general other technological advancements in order to keep the business afloat.

Even Uber has had to majorly iterate to stay competitive and top-of-mind in a challenging financial situation. In the first quarter of 2017, CNN Tech stated that the company lost $708 million. But despite their financials as well as not having a CEO, this past June, the company announced new app features including easier payments for both the rider and the driver, with “much more to come,” the New York Times stated. Additionally, “the company said it would be introducing improvements for the next 180 days,” all with the hopes of bringing back customers and improving their margins. Uber is relying their loyal users who were early-adopters and refuse to go back to hailing yellow cabs or having to download another ride-finding app.

INTURN is too addressing the need to innovate by creating an online platform that enables brands and retailers to then innovate their own businesses. We are providing a change to the manual, inefficient process of buying and selling excess inventory that allows brands and retailers to automate their systems and developed a streamlined process.

In a world with an over-abundance of product, brands, and businesses, it is critical to stay top-of-mind with consumers, and to do that requires all forms of innovation. And there is a lot of strategy, hard work, and sometimes reorganization to keep the innovation alive. It all begins with the seed of an idea, that once formed and implemented, provides reason enough for people to adopt it and change their behavior and then to want more, further driving change and the need for innovation.