Figuring Out What The Consumer Wants
By Michele SanFilippo -- Home Textiles Today, 1/24/2005 12:00:00 AM
New York — —
New York — Creating products that consumers didn't even know they needed is one of the keys to being innovative and increasing sales, according to Professor Patrick Whitney, director of the Institute of Design IIT, who spoke during a panel discussion at the National Retail Federation annual Convention and Expo in New York last week.
Moderated by Kenneth Walker, president of WalkerGroup Designs, the session also featured Ronald Johnson, senior vice president of retail for Apple and a former merchandising executive at Target; and Bruce Mau, creative director of Bruce Mau Design.
“There's been a power shift from the producer to the consumer, so the goal is to create products that consumers didn't know they wanted or needed and now can't live without,” Whitney said.
According to Whitney, people often confuse invention with innovation. “The idea has to be new and has to be adopted. In its early stages, it has to seem like the idea isn't going to work,” he explained.
Mau added, “If you can provide meaning, you are converting usefulness to the product. For example, the iPod brings a new capacity to the world. There has never been a time with more capacity to change the world than now.”
Whitney also said that new uses of technology can help bring retailers back to a “more humane way” of treating customers.
Walker added that because retail is governed by quarterly earnings with 90-day windows, “You have to be able to try things and not be penalized for failing along the way. Innovation usually takes place in three- to five-year windows,” he said.
Whitney responded by stressing the importance of finding ways to prototype ideas faster and easier than in the past, making it cheaper to try new things and less expensive to fail.
Johnson asserted that in order to be innovators, companies have to believe in the ideas. “It's got to be a drive across the whole company. It's got to be culturally accepted by everyone, not just a select group of executives.”
He concluded, “Innovation is about excitement and being new and doing something different. You have to do something that creates meaning.”
We would love your feedback!
Most Recent Resources
- Getting the most out of offline leads
- Free Shipping and the Importance of Onsite Promotion
- Should Branded Manufacturers Participate in Flash Sales?
- Rugs 101 - Special Edition
- How Big Is Your Label
- Choosing a Web Site Developer
- Convergence: Tie Your Online & Offline Experience...
- Social Networks to Social Shopping
- Why Brands and Their Retailers are Facebook’s Biggest...
- Web Based Intelligence Gathering
- The Future of Tablets
- Shopatron: Bicycles & eCommerce
- A Guide to Holiday eCommerce Success
- Mattress Buying 101 - Connecting with Consumers
- Designing Your Brand’s Website for eCommerce
- Global Sourcing in 2010: Doing More With Less
- Comparing Four Options for Turning Web Site Traffic into...
- Are You Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season? A Branded...
- Design, Develop, Deliver: The Three D's to Digitally...