Adrian Peter Tse
Sep 25, 2014

How Asia is leading with micro-innovation: Lowe Profero

SPIKES ASIA – A focus on user-experience is helping to shape micro-innovation in Asia, according to Wayne Arnold, CEO of Lowe Profero, and Winnie Park, EVP of DFS luxury retail.

L-R: Wayne Arnold, Winnie Park
L-R: Wayne Arnold, Winnie Park

Please see all of our Spikes Asia 2014 coverage here

Arnold began by pointing out there is no such thing as perfect user-experience and that energy should be channelled into micro-innovation. He went on to cite Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi as examples of companies that make ideas better step-by-step—a different approach to the Silicon Valley start-up philosophy.

“The Asian revolution is happening,” Arnold said. Although in the past Asia has been accused of a “copy cat culture”, Arnold believes that is now changing and companies are adopting a different approach to innovation than that seen in the west. In Asia, it comes down to rapidly evolving with the user.

On this note, Park discussed micro-innovation at DFS, stating that the journey began with two questions: “How do you do this in retail?" and "Who is making the greatest impact?”

From there, Park went on to cite Burberry as an exalted example of a luxury brand that embraces digital and made reference to its ‘Art of the trench’ campaign, a holographic runway show event combining the real and unreal, as well its retail installation, featuring mirrors that speak to you and tell you about the clothes you’re trying on in-store.

“This goes beyond the typical ‘big white box in middle of city’ approach you see with most luxury fashion brands,” Park said.  

Lessons learnt:

  • User-experience is not static, and users have high demands. Build a system to learn and innovate in steps.
  • Instead of an omni-channel approach to e-commerce, try an exclusive approach. Example: DFS’s Master’s of Fragrance campaign.
  • Learn from your customer’s behaviour. Example: DFS talks to customers using social, digital and content because its customers are always on the move and it’s important to have the conversation pre-flight if it’s to translate into business results.
  • Focus on enhancing the customer experience across touchpoints.

Campaign’s observation: The presentation and speakers cited great examples but could have been more coherent in linking micro-innovation to something concrete on the evolving landscape of retail. The ideas were there, but the whole didn’t gel as well as it could have.


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