The reason why it is so difficult for existing firms to capitalize on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business model that make them good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing for the disruption. – Clayton Christensen

Perhaps Clayton’s Christensen’s insights into disruption can apply to some of our retailers? Could it be argued that one of the great features of the relative predictability of Australian retail in years gone by, is that our business models where built on process and predictability? Now we live in a world of d contemporary dominance of imperatives such as change, innovation and disruption underpinned by relative efficiencies?

The shakeup of Australian retail is really not being dominated by retail doing the same stuff only better. Sure, there is incremental improvement in many cases, however the greatest steps are taken by the board member, CEO or staff member who can simply start with two simple questions.

How could this be done differently?

Or why do we do this the same way all the time?

To be fair, innovation and disruption wasn’t suddenly n born in the current period. Equally this also applied to the Sam Walton’s, and Gerry Harvey’s (to name two of many) of the world however the dynamics of this thought process and truly turning a business model upside down and apart is now considered rigour and necessary more so than ever.

To not take this perspective on your business is to invite value discretion at the hands of your competitors. Who are asking these questions.

Perhaps there is no better way to make this point than to share the journey of our client and friends at Sneaker boy Australia – Just to simply follow their timeline is to understand the mindset of team members in consultation who ask these questions of their business every single day

Winners at our yearly retail innovations awards – as they have evolved from shop to retail ecosystem to embrace yet another trend moving from commerce, e commerce, s commerce, m commerce to re commerce.

The retail ecosystem creating a customer interacting with another customer and buying from each other – the channels facilitating the experience – building a profitable community. Using the branded space in another way

Starting with “How can we do this differently”

This from Chris Kyvetos – founding Director

“In 2013 SNEAKERBOY embraced the evolving shopping habits of its market by integrating digital and physical retail.

The SNEAKERBOY retail stores were set up as places where consumers could interact with people and product, individually or socially, whilst transacting only online.

In 2013 consumers had other channels than traditional retail store to shop, they were able to shop virtually anything online. The “SNEAKERBOY Retail Model”, was then, and still is today a retailer making its stores relevant to its consumers changing habits.

In 2017 consumers no longer need the retailer to shop. They are shopping amongst themselves. None more-so than Sneaker consumers. They buy and sell from each other on forums, social networks and swap meets at a growing rate of 25x retail growth.

In 2017 the “SNEAKERBOY Retail Model” has evolved to embrace this growing habit.

The new SNEAKERBOY store at Chadstone Melbourne will dedicate ¼ of its floor space to consumers as a type of common area where they can display buy and sell sneakers from each other, with SNEAKERBOY acting as a quality and integrity moderator.

Much as it did in 2013 SNEAKERBOY looks to embrace the consumers changing shopping habits.

“Kids are going to shop online, we’d rather they do that in our stores than in their bedrooms” –Sneakerboy, 2013

“Kids are going to buy off each other, we’d rather they do that in our stores than in the carpark”. –Sneaker boy 2017

As we spoke about in our last Retail Doctor blog, building a better candle leaves us with a better candle. How do we make electricity? The team at Sneaker boy are solid examples of the evolving disruptive nature of retail.

Take change for granted and nothing else.


Retail Doctor Group is holding a CEO Breakfast on Tuesday 8th August in Sydney CBD. This event offers the opportunity to gain unique insight into the trends of innovation retail design from our accomplished expert in global retail design innovation, store planning and shopping science, Neil Arrowsmith, Global CEO of Greater Group. Click here to register your interest to attend.


Brian Walker is founder and CEO of retail consulting company, Retail Doctor Group. He specialises in the development and implementation of retail and franchise strategies. He can be contacted on 02 9460 2882 or

First published InsideRetail on August 4, 2017