Retail Innovation - The never-ending road to success? A critical analysis of pitfalls and opportunities

This source preferred by Jeffery Bray

Authors: Bray, J.P. and Berger, D.

Editors: Timmermans, H.

Start date: 14 July 2008

Publisher: European Institute of Retailing and Services Studies

This paper outlines the current and continuous changes occurring in the retail and social environment that necessitate the constant evolution of retail formats. Over recent years experiential retail formats have appeared in recognition of the increasing need to ‘entertain’ shoppers and satisfy their ‘leisure’ needs. A number of ‘best practice’ examples of such retail innovation have been presented.

While such experiential innovations appear to be the ‘holy grail’ of modern retailing, they often require considerable investments of both capital and management time. This paper has used an autoethnographic approach to reflect upon the constraints and costs involved in the design, construction and operation of such a retail enterprise to provide a unique and holistic assessment of the benefits and challenges experiential innovation holds in developing new retail formats and initiatives. The findings from this research highlight a number of previously unreported pitfalls that are likely to be encountered, financially, operationally and symbolically. It is recommended that retailers continue to explore experiential innovations, but that they proceed with caution!

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