You Can’t Just Call Yourself Innovative

You can’t just call yourself innovative, and hope that people will believe you. Today I visited a store named “Innovation Paints”. I was excited to see what would be innovative about the experience. Would it be types of paint I’ve never heard of? A different approach to mixing colour? A customer service experience on par with nothing I’d witnessed previously?

Sadly, it was none of the above. Innovation Paints is your run of the mill paint retail store. It’s a fine store, and I’m sure I’ll be happy with my purchase. The staff was friendly and professional. They did go out of their way to do a special order, but I’d hardly call that innovative. I looked around the store, and saw various wallpaper books, a 15% off deal on tape, various supplies and many, many colour chips.

How can retail paint and wallcoverings stores innovate? In my quick search, I found magnetic paint and Behr’s ColorSmart website. There’s also Farrow & Ball, who are innovative in their approach, “Producing unrivalled colours using only the finest ingredients we still make paint and wallpaper by traditional methods to original formulations.”

Here’s a simple idea — build a tool to profile the customer’s colour preferences. Store the paints I’ve purchased in the past so that I could stop by with a request for “a quart of the yellow from my entranceway”, instead of having to store all the colour combinations myself (in paper form, or more likely keeping the old paint cans in my basement). Or, maybe the request is along the lines of, “I need a colour for the ensuite which compliments the colour in our bedroom, maybe with a bit of red”, or “I need a white for the trim that looks good with the blue in our living room” or “Like the green in the office, but not green, blue”.

You get the idea. I’m no database programmer, but it wouldn’t take too much to build it. In fact, with the tools our there, I probably could!

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