Black Friday innovation is usually seen mainly from retail, channel and shopper experience perspective. That it is, similar to singles day and other similar established seasonal shopping sprees.
There is an underlying innovation cycle, too. The products are current, latest and greatest, new models and the roll-out is recent so that customer perception of new features is still fresh when the big sales comes up. This creates the perfect setup for innovators – market expectation about new product releases, discount signal “buy now ” and general market visibility. Sure, marketing is tough as everyone is trying to get their message across, but in general the audience is tuned in.
This makes the seasonal and expected events like Black Friday innovation drivers. Consumers expect great offers on great products. Would there be riots about last year’s models? No way – it is about desirable products that are better, and there is innovation driver. You’ll want your product to be the one people are rushing to get.
Innovators, that is product development, have been busy way before the visibility of the year’s biggest shopping days. Products need to be competitive, which means that attractive product features have been identified, checked, specified, designed etc all the way to marketing messages and delivery capacity.
Is there a guaranteed recipe for making a hit product for the season? Safe to say no, unless you are Apple who keeps on doing that every year. Certain practices may help, though.
Innovation is about change, and change especially from the customers’ perspective. Organizationally change can be easy or hard, and one could argue that cultures that make experiments easy and fast to implement are better prepared to identify and implement beneficial changes to their products.
Besides operational and innovation culture, strategy plays a role. Without a clear and chared vision about who your company serves, how and by which product and service categories better than others innovative culture will become lost in great ideas for adjacent markets. That may serve a purpose for the society, may open up startup opportunities, but how about your sales and profitability?
Culture and strategy need to be backed up by actual ability. That for innovation means smart, capable, motivated people. Your business strategy is implemented and executed by people who are comfortable with, enjoy and are attracted to and share the mission, strategy and culture at your business.
I started looking at Singles day and Black Friday as I was trying to figure out if they are “just” annual sales, publicity gimmicks or if there is something for an innovator to observe. I think there is, as true and innovative marketing and product research has happened before the event, and the big sales events are the culmination of great innovations done, be that consumer electronics, fashion, food, or anything else.
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