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Sourcing Journal Podcast: Episode 8 Innovators & Imitators

The term disruptor gets tossed around very liberally today. It seems every new company that manages to grab a handful of headlines is dubbed the next big thing. But the reality is that true innovators are few and far between—especially in retail.

In this week’s episode, we talk to Pano Anthos, founder and managing director of XRC Labs. Through his business accelerator, Anthos grooms the next generation of disruptors in the retail and consumer goods sectors. But, he said, even with the resources, connections and funding XRC provides, in order for a company to take off, it needs three things: innovation, storytelling and founders willing to pivot.

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Below are a few excerpts from the discussion.

Anthos on what will separate the retail winners from losers:

“Where retailers are falling down is they really aren’t following consumer behavior very carefully. For example, all retailers thought, we should build a mobile app for consumers. In fact consumers don’t want apps. People don’t want to use apps wherever possible. What they want is service levels, and retailers thought if we capture them in the app, they’ll be identified but all of that is a ton of friction before the consumer has engaged.”

Anthos on how to capture—and keep—consumers’ attention:

“What’s brand loyalty in this new era? If it’s not product innovation per se and it’s market innovation, how long can you keep that market? I would argue you can keep it a very long time if you continue to innovate…You can only live on brand for so long. It doesn’t mean you stop innovating and say loyalty or brand. A DTC has a chance of gaining traction if they can tell a story that’s truly markedly different.”

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This podcast episode is made possible by Cotton Incorporated, a not-for-profit company funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers, and whose mission is to increase the demand and profitability of cotton. Discover What Cotton Can Do.