Top 10 Retailers Daring to Risk Big

3 min read
WorkMarket Editorial Team
WorkMarket Editorial Team
Top 10 Retailers Daring to Risk Big


This post from Susan Reda was originally published in STORES Magazine.

There’s a Cadillac commercial that stops me in my tracks every time I see or hear it. Called “Dare Greatly,” it focuses on a handful of individuals who have challenged convention in their quest to drive the world forward.

Those in the ad declare, “Don’t you dare change the rules. … Don’t you dare play with your food. … Don’t you dare stay up all night on the computer. … Don’t you dare tell stories.”

In retail it’s those who dare — dare to push beyond boundaries, dare to contradict decades of conventional wisdom — that are capturing shoppers’ hearts and wallets. Last month Fast Company included some daring retail companies in a list of the world’s most innovative; the lineup of top 10 retailers includes CVS Health, Warby Parker, Farfetch, Everlane, Kit and Ace, Casper, and Target.

CVS Health dared to turn its back on $2 billion in revenue from tobacco sales, redefining retail health care with a series of initiatives that have positioned the chain as a one-stop shop for health and wellness. There are now 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, including those inside Target stores. Last October CVS began testing in-store hearing and optical centers, and in a first-of-its-kind partnership, CVS is putting IBM’s Watson supercomputer to work in the hopes of identifying at-risk people — before they get sick.

Farfetch is changing the balance of power in high-end fashion, helping luxury brands and a growing list of posh boutiques in more than 35 countries sell clothing globally via the company’s website. Along with leveraging economies of scale for smaller retailers, Farfetch assists with back-office efficiencies.

Then there’s Everlane, an online-only brand that embraces the notion of radical transparency. Not only does the San Francisco-based company sell directly to consumers online, it discloses exactly how much it costs to make each product, detailing figures for materials, labor, transportation, etc., and showing Everlane’s price compared to a similar item at a “traditional” retailer.

And if you want to talk about breaking down long-standing models, consider Casper — the mattress that comes in a box. Realizing that the process of buying a mattress had become too time-consuming, Casper marries the convenience of online shopping with a streamlined product offering and a one-price (per size) approach. Seemingly overnight (the business launched in April 2014), Casper transformed the mattress business. Inflatable 20′ Rampage Slide

I grew up afraid to be different, but it turns out that those who act on their unique vision, get their hands dirty and swim in the deep end are the individuals I admire most today. They’re the ones who are moving retail forward. So go ahead and challenge the status quo. I dare you.