From PSFK's Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, here's how five brands are retaining valuable consumer feedback by giving selected members exclusive access to new products and services

The pressure to deliver a unique customer experience in a rapidly changing retail landscape has led to an exciting burst of innovation throughout the industry. Retailers across every category are working fast to develop new products and services in order to create optimal value for customers. With so much competition in such little time, however, it’s easy to lose track of what the customer really wants.

One of the ways that companies are preventing this is through open beta-testing, giving trusted members and loyal fans early access to test products and share their expertise and feedback. From PSFK’s Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, here’s how five brands are inviting their customers into the research and development process in order to keep innovation efforts focused on consumer demand:

Lululemon Whitespace
Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon invests in R&D in its Vancouver-based innovation lab called Whitespace. The products that come out of the space are all rooted in customer research and scientific experiments. Consumers in the neighborhoods surrounding the Vancouver headquarters are granted exclusive access to the product prototypes in order to gain feedback before making them widely available.

Gillette
GilletteLabs used crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to test its product that had been in development for two years and put it into the hands of hardcore grooming enthusiasts as well as Gillette fans to gather first-hand feedback. The GiletteLabs team, which was recently created, was tasked with “reinventing the way men look at shaving” using technology, and the campaign was a way to raise awareness and interest, while gaining feedback ahead of putting the product into production.

KFC
KFC Innovations Lab created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for product ideas to gauge customer demand. A YouTube video explained how the project works and introduced the product ideas. If any of the ideas are fully funded, KFC will begin production on the idea. The brand is also offering KFC Innovations Lab-branded merchandise for contributors.

Lego
Lego launched a pilot project, Lego Forma, using Indiegogo to test the appetite and market for a product aimed squarely at adults. Rather than testing in late stages of development, Lego is keen to test new concepts and validate ideas, hoping that by taking a more open approach to innovation it can de-risk and accelerate product development, while reaching new audiences.

Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola’s innovation team used crowdfunding to test demand for its water product. The innovation team, tasked with taking risks, testing, iterating and cycling through ideas quickly to see what works, used crowdfunding platform Indiegogo as a way gauge market opportunity for a product by gaining direct feedback from consumers.

Research and development spending among the Global Innovation 1000 overall increased 11.4% in 2018 to a record high of $782 billion. For an in-depth look into the many ways in which today’s retailers are doubling down on creativity efforts, download PSFK’s Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, available here.


Lead image: stock photos from Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The pressure to deliver a unique customer experience in a rapidly changing retail landscape has led to an exciting burst of innovation throughout the industry. Retailers across every category are working fast to develop new products and services in order to create optimal value for customers. With so much competition in such little time, however, it’s easy to lose track of what the customer really wants.

One of the ways that companies are preventing this is through open beta-testing, giving trusted members and loyal fans early access to test products and share their expertise and feedback. From PSFK’s Accelerating Innovation In Retail report, here’s how five brands are inviting their customers into the research and development process in order to keep innovation efforts focused on consumer demand: