Innovation is a driving force behind the success of any business.The new thinking can open up opportunities for your retail store to bring in more customers, increase sales, or generate buzz.The one pitfall to innovation is that success breeds imitation, such that your store must continually innovate to stay ahead of the curve.

         Innovation can be a tough thing to comprehend as we tend to think of everything as having been done before.Plus, in retail, what hasn’t been tried?As a business owner, you may think that there is no room left for innovation in the retail alcohol sector.Fortunately, this is very far from the truth.Innovation can take many different forms, some of which may not be readily apparent.For example, the craft beer explosion was pioneered by a few smaller companies, but now there are entire stores dedicated only to craft beer.Wine stores of only small producers (<1000 cases/yr) have cropped up as well as more local wines being offered in stores.These are just a few of the innovations that businesses have come up with.Also, some stores have started doing more food and wine pairings, sometimes doing a contest using wines picked from the store.These types of innovations are new to the marketplace and have increased sales and marketing buzz.The next new innovation is only limited by your imagination and creativity.
       The one downside of innovation is imitation.When your competitors realize your innovation, they inevitably try to copy it.I would argue that your headstart and original thinking will prevail.You had the idea and know how to execute it.You may also want to remind customers (in a subtle way) that your competition is imitating your great idea.As long as you keep your commitment to the idea and maintain the execution, the first business will usually win out.Try to think about new ways to run your business or engage your customers.Maybe a new market or niche product can be brought up by you to your customers.As stated before, your innovation is only limited by you and your employees creativity.
      Innovation can come in many different forms, with the only condition that it must be original to your area.With all success, success in innovation will encourage imitators, but a strong lead and original thinking will prevail.We will discuss in another article the use of focus groups to test out innovational strategies and new markets.