Scholars and practitioners are acknowledging the retail service innovation as an ideal empirical context for the study the effects of digital transformation on radical changes in experiential services. As showed by many examples experiential innovation is becoming a common competitive arena both for product-oriented (e.g. original brand manufacturers like Apple, Zara, Ikea) and service-oriented (e.g. multi-brand retailers, like Walmart, CVS, Alibaba) companies.
Although the literature pertaining to innovation and design provides several contributions that investigate the relationship between innovation of meaning and innovation of technological solution, few studies have tried to examine in depth the competitive dynamics of the radical innovation in the experiential services that requires the embodiment of the new meaning into the design of a specific customer experience solution. Through a multiple case‐study analysis, based on both secondary sources and ethnographic analysis, we investigate how the winner emerge between many competitors working on the same direction of Innovation of Meaning and map the activities of the Front End of Innovation for the development of the new Moment of Meaning that enables the instantiation of an innovation of meaning into the designed solution.