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There are endless communities of people who gather on line and in person to exchange ideas and socialize. One of the most popular ways to participate in these communities is through meetup.com. I recently attended a meetup held in Palo Alto at SAP, hosted by First Thursday Silicon Valley Marketing Professionals. In my experience, nowadays the word “marketing” usually refers to ways of using the Internet to get customers to engage with brands—in other words, promotion and sales. Be that as it may, and completely by surprise, I learned about an intriguing new SAP social app called My Runway that evening. Rather than a product review, I’m taking a look at SAP’s My Runway from the point of view of innovation.

In an earlier post, I discussed how entrepreneurs don’t innovate by just creating something better; they create something different. My Runway is hardly alone in the space serving up social fashion apps. Nonetheless, these apps are doing something very innovative, they’re turning the tables on the trend toward showrooming. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve showroomed at least once, that is, you went into a bricks-and-mortar business to see, touch, or try on a product that you ended up purchasing on line. My Runway turns this behavior upside down by letting its community follow, fav, and wishlist products from their favorite brands and direct them locally to where in-store purchases can be made at the moment.

By taking responsibility for their customers’ total experience SAP, well known for backend ERP software, gained a valuable insight. Had they concentrated solely on the past, SAP would never have looked at ways to help their customers’ customers on the frontend. Instead, with My Runway, they not only help their customers build great products, they help them sell-through to an engaged online community.


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