Innovation in ecommerce series: Configuration

A while ago, we looked at the Doblin model for innovation and how it can apply to ecommerce. The model is broken down into ten different types. Those ten types are put into three groups of their own. Like a sort of process-driven Russian doll.

Let's quickly recap how those come together. 

The ten types of innovation and their groups are: 


Profit Model





Product Performance

Product System





Customer Engagement

It is pretty obvious when it is laid out like that, right? With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the general holiday shopping vibes in our ‘new normal’ just around the corner, we wanted to explore these concepts further, looking specifically at how they apply to ecommerce – during Black Friday and beyond.

It is also a useful opportunity to remind yourself that innovation does not always mean firing rockets into space to take pictures of planet-reject Pluto. Innovation has a weird reputation. The expectation is that innovation must always mean creating something new – an idea or a product or a cure, you get the picture.

That is innovation alright, but in the context of ecommerce – and specifically with the holiday season in mind – innovation is within your reach and in your budget – trust us.

This article is a bit of a big picture, looking specifically at the concept of configuration used for innovation.

We hope you already know your profit model, network, structure, and process inside out. Consider the year it has been, you have probably had to adapt and, ahem, innovate, all four aspects of this innovation concept.

They might seem obvious, but the obvious often gets neglected. Your profit model might seem straight forward, but are you missing something? Spoiler alert: probably.

Because we’re all trying to do too much of too many different things, on top of just trying to be human beings who aren’t awful and coping with all the extra demands of this whole global pandemic thing, it’s easy to miss stuff.

Doblin explains the Profit Model innovation concept as follows:

Innovative profit models find a fresh way to convert a firm’s offerings and other sources of value into cash. Great ones reflect a deep understanding of what customers and users actually cherish and where new revenue or pricing opportunities might lie.

Now, we know – you might read that, yawn a bit, roll your eyes and then pick up your phone and start scrolling through social media. But you see: that’s precisely the kinda thing we’re talking about. 

Shopify and TikTok team up 

You might have missed the news recently that Shopify teamed up with the popular music and video-sharing app TikTok to allow shoppers to pay for purchases in the TikTok app. 

If you are wondering what even is a TikTok (not a Ke$ha song, apparently) - then that is precisely what we are talking about. 

In this increasingly visual and virtual world, this partnership is hardly a surprise. But it is innovative. 

With the TikTok channel for Shopify, merchants can take advantage of TikTok’s global scale to reach new audiences they might not have engaged with otherwise. 

Here's a little explainer from Shopify themselves: 

The TikTok channel allows merchants to create and connect their TikTok For Business account and deploy In-Feed shoppable video ads directly within Shopify. Merchants select which product they would like to feature, and video ads are automatically generated that drive to their Shopify stores for checkout. Ready-made templates designed specifically for commerce mean merchants of any size can take advantage of the TikTok channel using their existing imagery or video.

Innovation in ecommerce can just mean a new audience

We know it might not quite have the ‘whoop, whoop, did the earth move for ya too, baby?’ feel that you might first think of when hearing the word ‘innovation’ – but a new process, an addition to your profit model, an action taken to increase your profits – all of those things count as innovation for you as a business.

In the midst of all the grimness and general feelings of discontent, this whole global pandemic things has taught us that there is more than one way to skin an ecommerce site.

The last eight thousand and nine hundred months or however long this thing has been going on has brought some of the worst in people – but it has also brought out the best.

And it has been a solid reminder that it is impossible to be prepared for everything all the time. 

As much as you might want to dream up the next best thing, when it comes to innovation in ecommerce and entrepreneurship, sometimes you just need to innovate your thinking rather than the whole thing.


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