Retailers must model themselves after successful start-ups and innovators in every other field. As consumer preferences change, retailers’ abilities to meet them with relevant products and services must also change. Customers are asking for new kinds of value, so retailers have to adjust the way they work to deliver these new customer-mandated outcomes. Retailers must develop the capabilities to improve their ability to deliver purposeful innovations, increase their learning speed, and then transfer their knowledge into the real world.
A Store of the Future Initiative is what forward-looking retailers need to meet these challenges and thrive. WHAT IS A FUTURE STORE? In his 1970 book, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read, it will be the person who does not know how to learn.” To prepare for the future, retailers must be continuously innovating.
Designing a Store of the Future means developing a clear, compelling, tangible vision of what the total future experience will be like for a retailer’s customers and employees.
Building a Store of the Future means making many ideas become reality at the same time and in the same place.
A Store of the Future Initiative focuses a retailer’s business toward touching customers’ hearts, engaging employees, and improving shareholder returns. This special kind of project starts with what customers want most, and then helps the business become best at delivering it. The physical outcome of the Store of the Future Initiative is, of course, a new store, but the concept extends well beyond that. The true value lies in building the components that make retail innovation possible and introducing elements of the new store at the full scale of a retailer’s operations. If you adopt a Store of the Future Initiative, you will be in good company. PayPal, eBay, Chick-fil-A, Chrysler, Sony, IBM, McDonald’s, and many others have successfully used Store of the Future Initiatives to create retail concepts, design centers, and flagship stores that outperform their competitors and give rise to valuable business innovations.
A Store of the Future Initiative is: · Tomorrow Focused. It includes a detailed picture of the complete experience a retailer plans to offer their customers, employees and shareholders by a carefully chosen future date. · Modular. Individual elements may be prototyped at a pilot location, carefully tested and documented, then quickly exported to existing stores—accelerating the rate of adoption and lowering risk at the same time. · Real. The first half of the work uses experience design tools to turn cool ideas into feasible designs that can be adopted successfully in the field. The other half uses business design tools to coordinate efforts, expectations, personalities, and capabilities throughout the organization. · Collaborative. Integrating the different thinking styles of programmers, designers, operations specialists, and financial analysts is essential to making a store that can make a difference. · Non-stop. This kind of initiative doesn’t stop when the new store’s doors open. It’s greatest ongoing value is as an ‘innovation factory’ that keeps the new ideas coming—and keeps proving them in. · An Effort Employees Want To Help With. Innovative companies are most often inspiring companies to work for. The employees are energetic which enables companies to respond to customers’ needs more quickly and develop game-changing innovations on a more regular basis.
A Store of the Future Initiative encompasses every aspect of the retail environment and integrates their parts into a singular experience customers will notice, remember, and share:
- Retail design
- Customer experience
- Employee experience
- Economic model
- Interaction design
- Visual merchandising
- Designed properly,
a Store of the Future Initiative is capable of introducing innovations into a retailer’s operations on a continuous basis. It’s true value lies in building the organizational components that make it possible to smoothly introduce innovations into a retailer’s operations at scale. When a retailer can grab everyone’s attention and focus energy and effort on a coordinated picture of the future experience customers will want, employees will endorse, and shareholders will support—it brings added value to their investment and to their brand. Look for future articles, a white paper, and an eBook on this topic in the near future.
About Future Stores: Now in its second year, Future Stores is the only conference that focuses on the challenges faced by store, operations, IT, cross-channel and retail customer experience executives trying to bridge the gap between the digital and store experience. Follow this link to download the agenda. About Mike Wittenstein: Mike is a customer experience expert and president and founder of Storyminers. Storyminers is Mike Wittenstein’s Strategy Studio where companies find and become their Story. In operation since 2002, Storyminers’ market-proven customer experience design methodology has helped dozens of service brands dramatically improve their customer experience and operating metrics.