“No industry has been transformed more in the past year than retail.” That’s the lead in line to Fast Company’s article on The Worlds Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in retail. I couldn’t agree more. But the interesting thing is the way that these innovators have gone about changing the rules of the game.
The first one that struck me is number 10 on the list. Macy’s of course, is a venerable old-school retailer. In 2013 they turned their supply chain on its head by transforming 500 stores into fulfillment centers as well as stores. Shoppers who enjoy same day in store pick up and same day delivery, usually don’t think (or care) about the logistics that made it happen. It’s a massive undertaking, and one that strikes at the deep reservoir of expertise within the brick and mortar sector for logistics and process improvement.
Another is Warby-Parker. At number one on the list, they have received a ton of press this last year. But what strikes me is that they really got one thing right – fit. I have blogged before about fit being one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce. Warby-Parker got it right with its home try on program. Super easy-to-use, fast, simple, responsive and overall, fun. With a focus on fit (which is so personal with eyeglass frames), they clearly had a customer experience vision. As they move into physical stores, it will be fun to see how they take their brand to the streets.
Finally, I love what Zady (number 8) has done. They took their sustainable fashion ethos and made it a pillar of who they are, what they stand for and have built a community around that, similar in concept to Tom’s and Warby-Parker. I heard the Zady founder speak at the Retail Online Women in Retail Conference last spring and was very impressed. When retailers ask, “How can I ever compete with the likes of Amazon?” I think of this company. How do you compete? Authenticity, personality and the courage to think globally from day one.
If you need retail inspiration, check out the Fast Company article. In today’s world, anything is possible, whether you’ve been in retail for 100 days or 100 years.