Channel Innovation: bringing the product to the customer in the best way
In the search for continuous improvement, innovators are constantly looking for a better version of their own product. This leap forward of the product quality may arrive from many different paths: from developing new ways to attract the customers to the launching of brand new products. The Dolbin Group distinguished the ten types of innovation, which are very well explained in the book Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs (Keeley, Walters, Pikkel, Quinn, 2013).
One of the ways to innovate is through the improvement of the communication channel. Thus, Channel Innovation is considered as one of the possible main areas to vary if you want to get your product one step forward, getting closer to your customer. But, what do we mean with Channel Innovation?
If we are allowed to answer this question with another question we would state that Channel Innovation might the response to the next one:
In simple words, this could reflect the ability of the company to allow the customer to purchase what, when and how they want with “minimal friction and cost and maximum delight” (Doblin, 2021). This innovation is purely focused in the customer and their relationship with the company. For that reason, it is considered as an Experience innovation type.
An example of this type of innovation strategy can be found in Amazon. In the very beginnings, the company used just the online shop to sell books. Nowadays, they are expanding their communication channels, allowing the clients to purchase their favorite products in many different ways. This is not the most extended practice, but Amazon began online and became offline, without giving up the first selling platforms (most of the companies do it backwards).
Amazon established many stores (Amazon Books, 4-Star, Pop-Up, Fresh, Go, Go Grocery), each one focused in different segments, but all with the same philosophy behind: innovate, innovate and innovate to get closer to the customers. This is what Channel innovation purely is.