Innovation and Creativity

Embracing our creative and entrepreneurial spirit to drive innovation

We stay ahead of the curve by empowering our people to explore new ideas that will drive our business of tomorrow. We encourage both our employees and external participants to join our leadership and innovation programs, creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem where people can share resources and obtain guidance to explore innovative and creative ideas for the industry.

Key Stories

Our Greenhouse Accelerator program

Launched in 2018, the Greenhouse Accelerator is a unique retail tech-accelerator program focused on accelerating technology-driven solutions, catered towards fast growing retail startups. This equity-free accelerator offers startups market access and retail expertise. Selected startups are matched with corporate sponsors across the Group to implement proof of concepts, with the goal of signing commercial agreements.

Following the successful completion of our first cohort of five selected startups in 2018, our second cohort in 2019 saw five additional startups being tested and developed for piloting across the Group.

Our program’s success stories have not only benefited our participants but have also helped us gain better insight into upcoming disruptions to the industry. Our corporate sponsors, many of whom are employees of our Group or of associated brands, have also been able to benefit from the exposure to the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Chalhoub Group, as it keeps us informed and responsive to external developments. To further develop this program, we hosted over 60 events in 2019, with over 1000 attendees.

The Greenhouse Accelerator program has received positive feedback from the participants, highlighting the impact it had on them. This includes improvements in their business processes, increased access to new opportunities in the region, better exposure to advancing technologies, and an introduction to the economic, legislative and social landscape of the region; processes which are usually lengthy and expensive for newcomers to the Middle Eastern market.

Case study

StoreDNA start-up

StoreDNA helps retail executives improve along the shopping funnel in physical stores.

Their platform merges physical footfall per location, staff scheduling, shopper tracking and behaviour and sales per single item in the physical store, and by introducing intelligent analytics blends them into one data analytics landscape for meaningful improvements on VM, operations, staffing and marketing through fast, digitalised, accurate and decision-ready insights.

So far, StoreDNA has been successfully rolled-out to Tory Burch and Lacoste. StoreDNA connects 70 of our stores from these two brands and showed potential to create up to 60% of increased sales through visual merchandising optimisations and 15% through staff scheduling optimisation, without increasing our operational cost.

Our Ibtikar program

With the purpose to ‘foster entrepreneurship and generate innovation’ our Ibtikar (innovation in Arabic) program was founded in 2017. We encourage our people to test their ideas, by guiding them and by providing them with the necessary resources to do so. This includes the provision of time, funding and mentorship that is aimed at empowering our employees to take matters into their own hands and realise their goals.

In 2019, we have been able to test several disruptive business models through Ibtikar, including data driven personalisation, shoppable social networks, circular fashion and frictionless payment and loyalty. Throughout the year, we received 15 disruptive idea submissions, of which 4 were selected to be part of the program and were tested at Ibtikar. On the other hand, 5 of the ideas have been categorised as Quick Wins, sustaining innovations which lead to efficiencies in our core business.

We have found that our Ibtikar program does not only lead to innovation in the way we do business, it also encourages employee engagement and supports the overall transformation mission of the Group to be more entrepreneurial. The success of this program in the UAE has convinced us to roll-out Ibtikar in KSA in 2020.

Case study

Wear That start-up

Wear That is an online styling platform that creates looks based on a customer’s data, considering their body shape, mood and Occasion. Once a client signs up to Wear That, they will be assigned a real-life stylist to put together their looks, where they can then simply decide what to keep, and what to send back from their personalised box. Wear That is the perfect balance between data driven technology and personalisation at scale. Having launched a little over a year ago, Wear That has seen substantial organic growth in sign-ups and sales, month on month as well as a high repeat customer base. Wear That is a customer obsessed brand, focussing only on the needs and wants of our #realgirls.

To learn more about The Greenhouse startups, click here.

Employee quote

Being part of the Greenhouse internal innovation program, Ibtikar, has been an incredibly enriching experience. I’ve been able to fully adopt a growth mindset and have been exposed to industry experts both internally and externally which has allowed me to truly live and breathe Chalhoub’s innovative spirit.”

Alexys Mckenzie
Founder – You Beaut

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