As an online retailer you should always take time to reflect back on why you are innovating. Josh Mammoliti says the core vision of pureplay The Blue Space, is to make buying bathrooms and kitchens easier for its customers, so every time they get creative or innovate, they ask the question – “was that easier for the customer?”.
Staying ahead in an industry constantly termed “digital disruption” can have its challenges, especially when it comes to continual innovation. Josh Mammoliti, managing director of bathroom, kitchen and laundry e-tailer The Blue Space shares his top tips on how he fosters an environment of innovation and creativity at The Blue Space.
- Allow everyone in your business to be an innovator. There is no point having an innovative leader and a bunch of followers who are constrained in their thinking by set boundaries or practices. We have found some of the most creative innovations come from completing daily tasks, running into issues or challenges and simply not letting them go but instead challenging the way it has been done before and coming out on top with an innovative new way. Trust your employees to be creative and find new ways of doing the simple things that could lead to solving the bigger ones.
- Surround yourself with partners that push the boundaries. Innovation is difficult on your own and often it is the suppliers and partnerships we develop that help us push our creative side and leap ahead on innovation. We have found especially with the speed technology moves, partnering with a company such as we did with our 3D and VR tech, helped bring two businesses together that are specialists in their own field to create something that had not been done anywhere in the world. When you are in that innovation space you really do need suppliers that can think outside the box and support your way of thinking or doing business.
- Hard things are meant to be hard. Don’t be waivered from creative projects or innovating when you hit a wall or roadblock. There are often times when we have pushed a project aside because of this, but it is so important to assess why you are trying to innovate and see if the reason for attempting it is worth pushing ahead for. More often than not, we have found that just because someone else hasn’t done it before, doesn’t mean it is impossible or it is not what your customers want – you just haven’t figured it out yet.
- Don’t get too busy working the old way. It is so easy to get busy and not take a look at what or why you are doing something the way you are doing it. I am guilty of this, putting the creative cap in the top drawer for a while just until you get past this busy season. It is often at this point when you need to push your team to be creative and innovative the most, as busy season should never stop for your business and you should always strive to get busier but smarter in your ways. I have always found a mentor, colleague or business partner that has a different take on you and your business is the best sounding board in these times, helping you see the big picture and focus on what is important.
- Always take time to reflect back on why you are innovating. Our core vision at The Blue Space is making buying bathrooms and kitchens easier for our customer, so every time we get creative or innovate, we pose the question – “was that easier for the customer?”. We’ve found that by having one underlying vision for everyone to work by, makes resourcing creative and innovative projects so much easier and assessing whether the innovation was worthwhile so much simpler.
Last year The Blue Space ramped up its customer service offering with virtual reality (VR) technology for shoppers to choose and buy bathroom designs. Following this launch, the company have been running its customers through the VR experience and building their bathrooms in 3D, allowing them to visualise their actual bathroom selections, with 99.9 percent dimensional accuracy to correctly display all the fixtures and fittings in the consumer’s home space.
Mammoliti says one of the main objectives of The Blue Space is to make it easier for customers to build and design their own bathroom or laundry and be happy with their choice, which also reduces the instance of customer returns.
Gathering feedback from customers has been a critical component to technological innovation at The Blue Space, and putting this into the next evolution of its software and hardware selection. “Other similar suppliers have also been adopting the technology, which I think is fantastic as it develops the VR market overall and increases customer expectations for this type of experience in their buying process,” says Mammoliti.
The Blue Space are primarily online, however since launching into VR territory, the company have recently delved into a physical presence, with new showrooms in NSW, Brisbane and Victoria, where customers can book in for a virtual reality consultation or have their bathrooms built online in 3D.
“We have been busy working over the last three months with our partner Situ Systems on the next evolution of the software which includes a very unique and innovative kitchen module that will allow customers to build their own dream kitchen easier than ever before and buy it online.”