Retail innovation

This is a link to a great article on innovation within retail. It has access to lots of cool data and video content.

http://www.retaildive.com/news/10-retail-innovations-that-are-changing-how-stores-operate/139084/?goback=.gde_60855_member_248443007

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Mixed discipline innovation

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A team built with mixed skills and know-how will always be stronger than a group-think silo. Business insight is a combination of looking at an opportunity through multiple lenses and forming a view of what these multiple observations mean. Successful businesses look, listen and learn from as many sources as possible. This means an extended network is highly desirable. The easiest way to extend the network is bring in different people for divergent thinking on shared business problems. Right brainer, left brainer, activist, theorist – they all create balance and augment team and the enterprise in which they work.

Follow this link to an article on the subject by Bill Gross, CEO of Idealab

The art and creativity in Self-service

Self-service technology is often thought of as just a self check out machine in a supermarket. It is viewed as a soul-less solution that separates the customer from human contact. Furthermore it is seen as a technology that destroys jobs and consumes valuable space in a business. Thankfully this impression is changing as more people embrace the technology and experience first hand the benefits that it can bring. I have spent several years studying the form and functionality of the state of the art kiosk. My role at Box Technologies Ltd has enabled me to challenge the styles and preferences of both suppliers and customers. This body of research is now paying dividends. We have a great range of products, a healthy innovation pipeline and some extremely capable partners. The next decade will see continual growth in this technology sector. I hope to guide, influence and participate with all members of the self-service community, in delivering aesthetically designed useful pieces of engagement technology. I wish to promote Europe as the center of this global growth engine. I am looking forward to playing my part in this lucrative value chain.

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Freeing up the sales force for selling

Most sales reps spend less than half of their time actually selling. Here’s how companies can reshape sales operations to allow them to focus on their real job.

JULY 2011 • Olivia Nottebohm, Tom Stephenson, and Jennifer Wickland

Source: Marketing & Sales Practice

Here’s a situation that may sound familiar. “Inside” sales reps1 at a global manufacturer spent 75 percent of their time away from the phones—pushing through stalled deals, scurrying for data to answer questions from customers, and cobbling together one-off proposals for even the simplest requests. Highly paid field reps spent 45 percent of their time on internal sales support and tracking the progress of deals. Developing a standard proposal required meetings with as many as seven people, and field reps had to spend up to three weeks of constant effort to get a special price approved. This model of inefficiency culminated when the company fumbled a new-product launch because it failed to meet the deadline for proposals to secure initial orders.

That was the wake-up call the company needed. For two years, it worked to streamline its global sales operation by creating “sales factories” comprising specialized sales support staff with clear responsibilities and deal coordinators to shepherd sales through the system on behalf of reps. Internal processes were standardized and simplified, and a comprehensive performance-management system was implemented. While not all companies can successfully achieve these difficult and time-consuming transformations, the rewards are worthwhile for those that rise to the challenge. When the program was rolled out country by country, in some cases the impact was felt in just four months: reps gained an average of 15 percent more time for selling, conversions of proposals to sales rose by 5 percent, and the cycle time for internal sales processes shrank by 20 percent.

Read more here…