In a previous post, we discussed the commonalities of brands that fall behind in a digital age (aka Feeble). But what makes a brand Genius? In her talk at the Clicks and Mortar clinic this week, Head of L2 research Maureen Mullen pointed out what a lot of brands with a Genius or top-tier Gifted status have in common.

1. They were all early movers. Despite digital being an evolving game, those early to the game had a first-mover advantage. Twelve of the 15 brands that topped L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box launched e-commerce before 2015.

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2. They had a strong business-to-business legacy that helped propel digital sales.

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3. Target and Toys R Us – ranked 3rd 5th in the Big Box Index were early Amazon partners. Even though the Toys R Us partnership went sour and the Amazon-built Target site crash, both retailers came out with e-commerce knowledge.

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4. Nine of the 15 are closing stores, choosing to reach customers through their digital assets instead. Home Depot – who topped the 64 Index brands – has put a stop to opening new stores. It has placed 600,000 SKUs online, more than 17x the SKUs available in the average store. The brand’s launched a top-notch app, which lets users identify which items are available in a store vs. online.

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