From the Innovation Gap to the Knowledge Gap

From the Innovation Gap to the Knowledge Gap

Gary Hawkins, CART


I have often written about the growing innovation gap - the divide between the exponential growth of new tech fueled capabilities and the more linear growth of retail deployment of new solutions. This innovation gap has been one of the largest single challenges to brick & mortar retail.

And while the innovation gap remains a serious concern, a number of solution providers are leveraging the cloud and other approaches to bring advanced capabilities to regional and even smaller independent retailers. The problem is that while retailers can avail themselves of new solutions, they are sometimes lacking the resources, knowledge, and skill sets to make use of these new capabilities.

We are seeing this in many different areas. From sophisticated AI powered forecasting solutions that are able to ingest store-level events that impact product movement to cutting edge marketing personalization systems that challenge retailers to think differently about how they go to market.

The challenges we see are three-fold. First, retailers frequently lacking the requisite data analytic skills to make use of more sophisticated capabilities. Second, retailers lacking the discipline to modify operations or data gathering needed to power new capabilities. And three, retail executives being challenged to think outside the box, and envision doing business differently.

There is no easy answer to these challenges. It is one thing to have access to new innovative capabilities and quite another to have a company culture that embraces innovation and new ways of doing things. It is this issue that is perhaps the most important in looking ahead to who will win and lose in future retail battles. 

About the Author

Gary Hawkins is the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) and leverages his unique knowledge and view to new technologies to shape the future of FMCG retail. He can be reached at

Categories:  Consulting
Retail Verticals:  Drug & Pharmacy, Supermarket

CART Registered Due Diligence:

First level due diligence ensuring the solution is valid and viable.