XRC Demo Day on InnovationLeader.com

InnovationLeader.com was present at our XRC Demo Day event, and Kelsey Alpaio shared some of the key takeaways on his recent post, titled “Four Lessons for Retailers from Innovation Accelerator XRC Demo Day.”

Here are some of the highlights:

In kicking off the demo day for the program’s third crop of companies, XRC Managing Director Pano Anthos discussed some of the trends he is seeing in the retail space, and what retailers must do to stay relevant. Four of the trends he discussed are recapped below, along with short descriptions of each of the presenting startups.

1. RETAILERS NEED A CULTURAL UPGRADE

“‘The streams have crossed,’ to use the old Ghostbusters phrase. Online traffic actually exceeded foot traffic in stores on Thanksgiving for the first time in history. That’s a pretty big statement, and it’s a pretty big dramatic shift going on. And what’s that led to… is that store closures are rampant. Why go into a store? What is a store? Do we redefine what a store is? And so we come back to the number one issue today is the pace of innovation in retail and consumer goods…In fact, we kind of frame everything we do, even with our startups, in respect to culture. And we look at it really as a comparison between technology and the way retail and consumer goods act today…”

“Retailers still think they know better. And no offense to merchandisers… but the reality is, you don’t. And the consumer is voting constantly with their feet, and with their wallet, and with their phones, in other directions. And until we start understanding that they know better, not we, this will never get fixed. We’re really promoting inside XRC not just the technology, but culture change to listen to the startups…Understand that your way of doing things may not be the correct way any longer.”

2. STORES AS EXPERIENCES, PLATFORMS, AND PLANTS

Experience

“Time is the most important commodity today. It’s more important than money…Are you meeting me halfway, or are you insisting on me doing all the heavy lifting to get to your product and service? We see a lot of work being done around [bringing] stores to customers — moving your brand and product into the streets, onto the sidewalks… We also think that the store as experience is full of friction. Way too complicated, way too difficult. Everything is about eliminating friction. And so you don’t want that friction in your store experience…How are you helping me get done faster and through this door?”

Platforms & Services

“You’ve got to move to the model of the store as platform. The largest store in the world… It’s the app store. Bigger than Amazon in number of downloads and transactions. And we ask ‘Are you a platform? Are your ratings and reviews in your stores?’ Probably not. And then are you a service or rental model? We’re seeing a lot around this whole notion of store as service. What does that mean? What does that turn into? How are you bringing that capability to the customer?”

Plant

“We believe very strongly in the whole 3D knitting, 3D printing… 3D wearables… It’s going to be challenging, there’s no question, but it’s coming…Adidas and other players are putting these machines in stores. It’s awkward. It takes a crane to put the machine into the store. It’s not trivial, but it’s powerful, and it’s starting to evoke the next generation.”

3. LISTEN TO YOUR CONSUMERS

“Walt Disney lived in Disney World for 1/3 of his life. And he would walk around at 8 in the morning asking people ‘What did you think of that? How’d you feel about this?’ And his staff was freaking out because they had no control over him. He was listening. Ask yourselves the question, ‘Are your executives doing that with your customers and consumers constantly?’

4. DESIGN COMES FIRST

“Design is first, consumers are first. Not your idea of what design is, but the consumer’s idea of what appropriate designs are. We believe in this notion that supply chains are going to have to change radically to be successful. And we believe that the analytics need to inform everything we’re doing.”

Read the full article here.


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