*This article was originally published on prooV’s website on 28/11/2018. prooV merged with QAssure to become 1TX in July 2022.*
The end of the year and the start of the holiday season is a good time for B2C companies to take stock of their innovation progress and solidify their plans for next year.
Selling your product directly to customers means that there is very little room for error when it comes to trying new things. A refined innovation strategy helps B2C companies achieve the results they need to stay ahead of their competitors.
Here are the most important principles that every B2C corporate innovation strategy should follow.
Improve Internal Functions
Waste can be a huge part of why businesses struggle. They find some initial success using a certain set of parameters, and then continue to run those into the ground long past their expiration date.
The key is to recognize inefficiencies early and often.
You can do this by getting your employees involved, identifying waste in your company’s processes, and then narrowing that list down to manageable goals.
If, for example, employees consistently have trouble dealing with a specific stage in their workflow, you can investigate ways of improving their training or the processes involved in that particular stage.
Walmart’s VR Black Friday training is a great example of this principle in action.
Around the holidays, retailers like Walmart hire seasonal staff so there are more people to handle the bigger crowds. Training these seasonal employees appropriately and efficiently can be a big challenge.
Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, can be incredibly intimidating and difficult, even for veteran employees.
To better prepare employees for the turkey-fueled onslaught, they turned to VR.
With this new VR training, employees are able to experience a close approximation of the chaos that can ensue on Black Friday, making them better prepared to handle whatever situations may arise.
The Customer is King (or Queen)
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating simply for how important it really is.
Every successful B2C enterprise should focus a majority of their innovation on the customer experience – tweaking it, improving it and sometimes, completely transforming it.
Increasing the efficiency of internal processes should never be underestimated. However, customers are the B2C lifeblood.
Improving the customer experience can mean different things to different companies, and although the end goal is the same, two companies can get there through very different trajectories.
Take, for instance, Amazon and Walmart. Each are known B2C innovators who are redefining the way consumers make purchases, but they approach that challenge from very different perspectives.
Walmart, having already conquered the brick-and-mortar retail sector, has been embracing innovation as a way to stay relevant in the face of increasingly stiff competition online.
Enterprise Insights: How Walmart Stays Innovative
As such, they have invested heavily into expanding their technological prowess, and their online retail presence. For example, they now offer voice ordering, and have begun to embrace automated shelf-stocking and cleaning robots that improve the customer experience in-store.
On the other side of the same coin, Amazon is now looking to innovate the physical retail experience after having mastered the digital domain.
Through their high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods and their successful forays into cashier-free grocery stores, Amazon wants to offer their customers new and exciting experiences that extend beyond their vast web presence.
What this means for other businesses is that although you should be focusing on improving your customer experience, there is no set blueprint for success. Look at what your specific customers want, and build on those expectations.
Avoid Fleeting Success
Innovating for innovation’s sake might get you some headlines and add some marketing value, but the main point of innovation should be longevity.
In order to sustain your business long into the future, you need a well planned and well executed innovation strategy.
Every successful B2C innovation strategy has three main components:
- Use a portion of your innovation resources to identify internal problems and use that as a chance to streamline your processes.
- Allocate a majority of your funds toward improving and transforming your customer experience to keep pace with industry evolution.
- Never lose sight of what your customers actually want.
If your innovation plan follows these three principles, you will find real actionable results that will help your business flourish well into the future.
To learn how 1TX’s solutions can support your organizations B2C innovation strategy, contact us today!