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Tom Brouillette Thoughts at Large

710 posts


The challenge for retailers in the near future is the requirement to support new social shopping tools used by multiple generation consumers.  The key challenge is this environment is the number of social networking and shopping tools and the difference in tools that are used for similar activities by the different generations.  The difference in tools and support requirements for these different tools, including resources that track the release of new tools along with the framework to support the addition of new tools and drop existing tools as and when necessary.  The key to maintaining the mix of consumers and tools is the ability to understand the tools, track the usage of the tools and the flexible and robust technology framework to support the tools.

 

The differences in tools and apps used by different consumer generations requires consistent and continuous monitoring and review by the retailer to keep current.  This is a generational response by consumers and should be monitored and managed by retailer generational resources.  In other words, if the retailer hopes to maintain currency in the tool utilization they must include millennials as part of their team to manage the omni channel market.  This requires a strong, talented and connected group of resources as part of the retailers team to maintain the capabilities that are continuously monitoring and experimenting with new tools.  This requires a serious commitment from the retailer to develop and maintain this type of team so they can maintain consistency in response. This requires continuous monitoring and experimentation because new tools and new ways to utilize these tools does not occur based on some type of schedule.

 

The technology foundation and framework is really the easy part of the equation.  This requires simply a thoughtful review of flexibility, performance, and integration requirements to provide the type of framework that will support the needs of the omni channel market requirements.  This requires a regular review that can be performed on a regular basis to support new tools and it is a practice that is well understood and currently used to support the existing retailer framework.  This does require delivery of a more robust and flexible framework, however this can be delivered simply by increasing focus on increased integration flexibility.  This challenge will require an increase in the review frequency with a focus on integrating new technology more frequently and sooner in the cycle.

 

The bigger challenge for retailers will be implementation of the people and viewpoint to identify and implement new social tools to attract millennials.  This requires hiring millennials into positions of control to identify and implement new tools and then, just as importantly, to drop tools when and if they lose effectiveness and are dropped by millennials.  Retailers can no longer afford to wait for the tools mainstream acceptance to incorporate into their omni channel shopping and purchasing experience.  This requires resource generational change to provide the ability to monitor, identify and implement tools because the tools and usage change so quickly by the millennials.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Omni Channel Consumers

Posted by tbrouill Aug 22, 2016


Retailers have survived major changes in the marketplace previously and they will survive the current changes to the marketplace being driven by a combination of consumer demands and technology capabilities.  The challenge in this current upheaval is really related to the change in the consumer and the demands of the millennial generation.  These changes are demanded from a generation of consumers that have grown up immersed in technology and more importantly immersed in change that is realized through technology.  This comfort in technology and practice of experimentation combined with a practice of discontinuous change in the manner in which technology is used will cause the greatest challenge for the retailers related to the upheaval in shopping and purchasing.

 

The difference between this current upheaval and previous upheavals is the change in the way the new consumer generation base uses technology.  Retailers will be challenged to meet the demands because of the change in the viewpoint of the millennials as it relates to their use of technology in all aspects of their life.  This can be hard for a generation of retailers to understand that are not immersed in the technology to the same level.  Retailers must also allow for and nurture the support for the older generation consumers that may not be as comfortable with social network technology capabilities and the discontinuous change in utilization that will be driven by the millennials.  Retailers must allow for current generation technology along with the next generation technology and practices that are demanded by the millennials.

 

Another point of difference is the millennial viewpoint and response to business, commerce and work life balance in general.  At this point at least millennials are focused on work life balance and social society benefits to world and much less focused on lowest price.  Millennials are changing the retail world by moving from an instant gratification that heavily utilizes credit to a long term focus of saving and less use of credit.  This is a great thing for the long term well being and success of the millennial, they seem to have learned from the recession and have incorporated those lessons into their day-to-day life.  In general this means that they have a tendency to heavily research purchases and then delay the purchase until they can purchase without credit.  This is a great thing for this generation of consumers and it is a challenge for retailers.

 

These consumer changes will require retailers to incorporate the ability to change and incorporate new technology quickly and just as quickly drop the technology when consumer usage changes.  This can be difficult because at the same time the retailer will need to maintain the mainstream technology tools for the older generation usage a little longer.  This requires a robust and flexible technology foundation and in addition it requires the retailer accept and embrace a higher level of risk.  The risk is related to the requirement to incorporate new capabilities and technology prior to general acceptance from the entire customer base. 

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

 


We have entered into a time where the retail marketplace and relationships with the consumer are being reinvented as a result of consumer demands.  The difference between this time of reinvention and others is that the entire marketplace is being reinvented based on the consumer embrace of mobile technology and social technology capabilities.  This is a marketplace reinvention rather than an individual or a number of retailer reinvention initiative.  While the individual retailers are performing their own individual evaluation and reinvention activities based on their own strategy, make no mistake, these individual reinvention activities for each major retailer are being performed as a result of foundational changes to the retail marketplace that are driven by consumer changes in how, when and why they interact with the retailer.

 

This retail reinvention is different because it is based on foundational methods of interaction with the consumer and is being driven by technology that has  been embraced by the consumer.  The consumer has reached a point in technology acceptance and capabilities that allows them to in effect build their own marketplace.  This has been building for a while and now the combination of technology and consumer acceptance has tipped the scale to marketplace change that must be accepted and embraced by the retailer in order to survive.  The tipping point was driven by the combination of the smartphone, mobile apps and improvements in wireless data technologies.  This is the same type of dramatic change that was driven into the marketplace when high speed Web capabilities exploded on the market.

 

I am old enough to remember when Internet access was available only over a phone line and the speed was measured in ‘k’ not ‘m’ or ‘g’.  When high speed internet access was delivered it turned the computer from a specialized tool to a utility, just like a TV, and any time you needed information you only had to open a web browser on your desktop workstation and search.  This began a marketplace change to introduce eCommerce which has expanded into omni channel commerce that allows purchase across all channels. 

 

This new reinvention expands the purchasing across all channels to support social networking and shopping across all channels.  This reinvention is being driven now by millennials, a new generation of consumers that has been raised on the technology, that are both comfortable and imaginative with the technology.  This is the new generation of consumers and they are changing the retail marketplace forever.  Retailers must recognize and embrace this changing marketplace in order to survive and succeed in the future.  This will bring some discomfort for the major retailers because it will drive dramatic changes in both the technology and the use of this technology to blend all channels into a true omni channel shopping and purchasing experience.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Consumers are changing the omni channel market through their embrace of mobile technology, mobile apps and social networking practices.  Retailers must also adapt now to these changing demands of the consumer in the omni channel market in a manner that is much different than previous experience and practices.  Retailers must focus social shopping type services that enhance the experience and encourage consumer retention and frequent returns to the site.  In the future, the social experience will drive consumer participation and their desire to return to the retailer’s site for purchase and networking and this will replace the current focus on price for the majority of consumer omni channel purchasing.  In addition to these additional consumer services, it will be necessary for the retailer to collaborate with consumers in addition to their other partners in maintaining and enhancing the relationship with the consumer.

 

These service collaborator activities will drive and ensure the growth of consumer participation, retention and sales at the retailer’s eCommerce site.  This change in the relationship between consumer and retailer is going to be driven by the demands and the practices of the millennial generation as a result of their acceptance and comfort in the quickly changing technology market.  This change in focus to a service collaborator will require the retailer to embrace a higher level of risk in their offering of technology and services by driving a quicker cycle through new technology and services. This quicker cycle time will in turn drive a more flexible foundation of technology platform to support these changes.

 

Millennials are the future customer base for retailers and their focus along with their overarching driving factors is very different than other retail consumers.  Millennials have a much higher level of comfort with technology and technology socializing which is demonstrated through their utilization of communication and social technology.  In addition I do not think they are focused on the lowest cost, they are more focused on value than cost.  This combination of driving factors along with comfort in technology brings with it a very different viewpoint basic demands that must be supported by the retailer. 

 

Finally, millennials are much more collaborative and utilize technology to enable and support this collaboration. Their reach is amazing, they use social technology to maintain relationships around the world and bring a new meaning to the term ‘pen pal’.  Retailers must take these demands into account when providing an omni channel framework for customers.  The millennial will be the future of the retailers customer base and retailers must understand and embrace their demands and practices quickly in order to maintain their success. 

 

The retail industry has proven over and over that retailers must regularly reinvent themselves in order to remain successful.  Millennials have shown an affinity towards technology and their increasing activity in the retail marketplace will place great demands on retailers to embrace and incorporate new technology and an increasing rate that also increases the risk, or potential, for the new technology to be dropped just as quickly as it is picked up.  The good news is that selling price is being replaced as the driving factor in consumer purchases and the bad news is that technology services and capabilities is the replacement driving factor.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Omni Channel Success Risk

Posted by tbrouill Aug 16, 2016


Retailers must accept greater level of risk in technology and tools adaption in order to maintain their success in their omni channel activities.  This increased level of risk is related directly to their technology tools as they relate to  consumer interaction and collaboration.  In addition, it also relates to their processes and procedures as they relate to consumer and supply partners interaction and collaboration.  This change in acceptance level of risk is driven by new and discontinuous change demands from the consumer in how and where they interact and shop.  These changes in how consumers interact with the retailer are, in turn, also being driven by new and changing uses of consumer technology and especially mobile technology changes and usage combinations of technology.

 

This requires that retailers change their practice from a ‘follow the leader’ practice in technology and practice adaptation to a leader in technology practice adaptation.  This change to a leadership position in itself drives an increase in the level of risk required to succeed in omni channel shopping and purchasing.  These changes themselves are quickly becoming baseline, or business, requirements for the retailer as omni channel retail changes practices from a purchasing method to a shopping and purchasing destination.  In order for the retailer to maintain this destination designation they must embrace the quickly changing technology and practices as they are embraced by the consumer.  This requires adoption of a ‘turn and burn’ practice in capabilities and methods supported by the retailer in order to maintain success. 

 

This ‘turn and burn’ practice will initially cause the retailer a great deal of heartburn due to the unstable nature of the practice based on their current methods and practices.  This is especially true of large retailers that have built their omni channel practice a on base of complicated and integrated technology and business practices.  The first step to success requires a change in view point of the retailer to oneof flexibility in technology based on components that can be swapped as they are modified.  This is truly a much narrower view of the practices as they relate to the business and requires a technology practice of plug-and-play in order to support the level of discontinuous change that is being driven by mobile technology and consumer adoption of this technology. 

 

Retailers must change from a service provider viewpoint to a service collaborator viewpoint in order to maintain and even increase their success in the omni channel marketplace.  This increased focus on collaboration from the supplier through the consumer is necessary and even critical to developing the consumer relationship and maintaining success in the changing retail marketplace.  Retailers are no longer able to drive the market and therefore the response and purchases of the consumer, instead mobile technology is allowing the consumer to drive the market and the shopping and purchasing practices and retailers must collaborate with all members of the supply chain in order to meet these demands in the future.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Consumers have entered into highly adaptive stage in both purchasing and shopping that is being fueled and driven at the same time by advances in mobile technology.  Consumers have embraced the technology and are hungrily snapping up new capabilities through apps and services while at the same time developing new capabilities through mashing services and apps together in a velocity that at times can be overwhelming to the retailer.  This is the reason why it is so important for retailers to develop their own social shopping capabilities and platform to encourage the participation and even support for creating new capabilities by collaborating with the consumer.

 

Consumers are happy and even encouraging for this type of collaboration with retailers and you can see this based on the types of apps that consumers are using on a regular basis to help in their shopping and purchases. This is especially true of millennials who as a group are more focused on technology and especially collaboration technology.  Millennials as a group are the most prolific consumers of technology and especially social technologies that can be mashed together to support collaboration and shopping.  The retailer that embraces and harnesses these methods and technologies that are embraced by millennials will open their doors to a new generation of shoppers that are searching for this type of virtual shopping and purchasing experience that will blend in with their virtual world. 

 

The beauty and frankly the great challenge of these demands for the retailer is they are not required to internally develop these technologies, they must though provide a framework and platform that encourages collaboration and interaction with the consumer.  There is a very high probability that millennials will discover and experiment with the platform based on the retailer’s marketing to these capabilities through many of the social networking sites.  The most difficult requirement on the retailer’s part is the need for them to hire millennials to coordinate the marketing and the support of the platform.  This is difficult for retailers to accept because it will require that the retailer embrace and incorporate new technology quickly, at the leading or bleeding edge and then be prepared to drop the technology in an instant when it does not provide value or is replaced by another technology. 

 

This increases the requirement for retailers to accept a greater level of risk to success when adapting technology and services.  This greater level of risk is quickly becoming a cost of doing business for retailers to maintain success.  It is important for large retailers to recognize and embrace this change to business practices and relationship with the consumer in order to maintain their success.  Retailers have already come to the realization that a low cost strategy cannot be maintained for their long term success and must now take the necessary steps to shift this strategy to an adaptive collaboration with the consumer.  Retailers must focus on the next generation consumer and this next generation consumer is demanding collaboration and social networking capabilities to create a virtual experience. 

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Retailers must extend their collaboration partners in order to succeed in the new omni channel market demands of the consumer for a make-over.  The key demand of the consumer in this new omni channel market make-over is their expansion of focus into shopping and the social aspects of shopping that lead up to the purchase.  Up until now retailers have focused on the purchase aspect of the omni channel, the focus of retailers was the ability for the consumer to purchase any time and any where.  With the explosion of mobile technology, which was enabled by the expansion of wireless technology and capabilities, consumers have embraced the technology to extend their commerce practices to include shopping and the social aspect of shopping to connect with their friends to enhance their commerce experience.   Consumers are demanding now participation and collaboration in the retail experience and they are creating these new capabilities in social shopping through mobile technology and capabilities

 

Retailers must now accept and incorporate these new consumer practices and social shopping demands into their omni channel program to produce an expanded, or what I would call a true, omni channel experience.  This true omni channel experience not only provides a channel for social shopping, it also provides a channel for the retailer to collaborate with the consumer in purchasing capabilities, shopping capabilities and product mix, and even product features and functionality.  This provides the retailer an additional channel of input to their marketing and product life cycle management that has not been available before and would provide tremendous benefits to retailers and event their suppliers in product life cycle management.

 

The consumer reaction and participation in the social shopping network provides a means for direct feedback based not only on their reactions to mini surveys and purchased but most importantly through the interaction and touch points in their shopping and interaction with other consumers at the site.  The most valuable information provided by the consumer is their progress through the shopping and then eventual purchase from the eCommerce site.  This information is invaluable to the retailer for use in product placement and pairings for marketing purposes.  Add this information to the social networking information that will be available via the social shopping practices and interaction with friends and other shoppings and the retailer obtains an invaluable collection of information for marketing and product life cycle management and development.

 

The consumer is searching for an opportunity to incorporate social networking with shopping and purchasing to create a true omni channel retail environment.  Consumers are building these networks themselves through mash ups of mobile technology social networking tools and eCommerce purchasing and the first retailer to provide all of these capabilities in their omni channel offerings will achieve a huge success and the excited participation and retention of consumers in the shopping and purchasing experience.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Robust collaboration partnerships are important to the success of the omni channel retailers in meeting the demands of the consumer.  I think these partnerships can be categorized into three major groupings; supplier, supply chain and consumers.  Each of these partners plays an important role in developing and maintaining the success of the retailer in the new omni channel market.  Retailers can no longer be successful in the omni channel market without strong partnerships from these three categories.  Each of these partnerships provides a different role in the overall omni channel marketplace and their roles and importance depend on the topic and the demand at hand. 

 

The important factor is that a retailer must change to encourage and grow collaborative partnerships focusing on these categories to ensure their success in the future.  Each of these categories supports the others in ways that enhance the overall shopping experience to meet the demands of the consumer.  The consumer has an obvious role and a not so obvious roll.  The obvious role is sharing their purchasing desires directly with the retailer to improve products and product mix.  The not so obvious role is in developing the social shopping electronic capabilities with the retailer to produce a robust shopping platform that encourages interaction and participation from other consumers.  In order for these roles to be successful the retailer must both encourage feedback and then quickly act on the feedback.  The social shopping platform combined with the purchase platform provide the mechanisms for retailers institute a continuous improvement process of plan, do, check and act based on the consumer interactions.

 

The supplier and the supply chain will also provide important collaborative roles in this relationship that will drive improvements that will benefit all parties in the relationship.  Suppliers will gain from the improved interaction with the consumer providing direct and precise feedback on the product quality, usefulness and more importantly improvement suggestions.  These direct and improved interactions with the consumer will improve the management of the product lifecycle and reduce the overstock products in that lifecycle.  The supply chain will gain from the improved forecast and planning derived from the consumer feedback to allow more efficient and timely supply of products based on the consumer feedback and purchasing tracking that will improve the forecasts.  The entire chain will improve from the consumer feedback to improve clarity of the consumer delivery demands as well. 

 

The bottom line in these collaborative relationships is the improved communications will ensure the fulfillment of consumer demands.  These same improved communications and collaboration will also ensure the success of the other partners in the chain from the improved integration and reactions to the consumer demands.  This will fundamentally change the relationships to a partnership from a service provider or more simply an order taker.  The consumer is searching for a relationship and will gladly provide support in return for this relationship.  This in turn will allow the retailer to focus on the long term to develop this relationship rather than the quick low cost offerings that is currently negatively impacting their success.



And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Omni Channel Collaboration

Posted by tbrouill Aug 7, 2016


Consumers are expanding and quickly changing their demands of the retailer to support their shopping and purchasing practices in an omni channel marketplace and collaboration is more important than ever for the new omni channel marketplace to meet the demands of the consumer.  Retailers are challenged now more than ever to support these changing demands due to the introduction of smartphones, expanding wireless capabilities and the expanding and growing mobile app capabilities.  A key to the speed of these changing demands is the speed in which new mobile capabilities and apps are delivered to consumers.  Consumers have embraced the mobile capabilities and are incorporating new functionality as quickly as it can be imagined by developers.

 

Consumers have always experimented with different methods and tools in their shopping and purchasing habits.  Mobile technology and the expansion, simplification and low cost of app development and delivery to the consumer is the driving force to the current changes in consumer shopping and purchasing.  This new twist in delivery and utilization of technology has put a great deal of control in the consumer’s hands to support their experimentation and new demands.  These new capabilities have allowed and encouraged consumers to collaborate in their shopping and purchasing in ways that were simply never available to provide a means to shop any time and any where.  While retailers have been focused on the purchase and have been segregating that purchase to a channel consumers have been focused on shopping and collaborating with other consumers.  These consumer shopping practices have had a tremendous impact on the omni channel retailer in ways that retailers are only now beginning to realize.

 

Retailers must now focus on collaboration across the entire marketplace in order to meet and maintain their abilities to continue to meet consumer demands.  Major retailers must focus on the shopping and the relationship with consumers and other partners in the supply chain in order to sustain their sales and retain consumers.  Retailers must focus on new tools and opportunities to retain the customer for life.  Retailers are realizing now that a focus on the lowest cost to draw and retain customers is a losing strategy that cannot be maintained.  The key to consumer retention is collaboration and a focus on the social aspect of shopping that will encourage the consumer to return to social with the retailer and other consumers and can be supported from any platform. 

 

Retailers will succeed by developing the relationship with consumers and providing a place and methods for consumers to congregate and collaboration, a social shopping platform.  This platform requires collaboration across all partners related to the retailer supply chain to support the changing demands of the consumer.  Providing this type of social shopping platform will allow the retailer to replace their losing low price strategy with a strategy that will support their long term success.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Omni Channel Logistics

Posted by tbrouill Aug 6, 2016


The omni channel retailer has been very fortunate in the supply chain and logistics support of the changing demands of the omni channel marketplace.  All carriers from international, intermodal to local LTL and parcel carriers have recognized and risen to the challenge of the demands placed on the logistics services by consumers and the retailers that support the purchase demands of the consumers.  The competition and the creative response to the demands has provided retailers with a dependable, flexible and most importantly cost effective means to support the consumer demands.  This is a great example where competition across a large and lucrative marketplace provides the fuel to achieve improvements in service and cost on a continuous basis.

 

These capabilities will allow retailers to expand the omni channel offerings in a manner that will eliminate the differences between the channels.  Consumers are searching for services that will improve their shopping and purchasing experience, this is the reason why mobile technology and capabilities have been embraced so quickly and wholeheartedly.  This is where the supply chain can also play a part in the experience and encourage retailers and consumers to extend the ‘any time and any where’ concept to the purchase delivery.  The retailer simply needs to open up the delivery options and allow consumers to build their own combinations to support their needs at the moment of purchase. 

 

As an example, Starbucks has embraced the concept of purchase online and pick up in the store via their mobile app to shorten or eliminate the delays in the order and pickup process.  This has opened up a host of opportunities based on the imagination and needs of the consumer.  One of the most effective options utilized by the consumer is to use the app to place and pay for their order when they see a long line at the counter.  I’ve spoken to many people that love the way they can walk up to a Starbucks and see a long line at the counter, so they simply open their mobile app, select and purchase their drinks and their order is delivered before they would have made it to the register to order.

 

The inclusion of the supply chain in the retailer’s collaboration improves the entire experience for the consumer and this is what is important.  Open up options and opportunities for the consumer to interact and collaborate with the retailer and the retailer will in turn experience an increase in retention and sales.  We are in an age now where the consumer is comfortable and demands the ability to use their imagination in shopping, purchasing and delivery and the supply chain provides the ability for consumers to meet the their needs at the time to deliver any time and any where.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

The New Omni Channel

Posted by tbrouill Aug 5, 2016


Mobile technology and capabilities is fundamentally changing the retail omni channel environment and this requires a re-evaluation of the retailer shopping and selling practices.  This change should be driving the retailer to view the long term relationship with the consumer rather than the short term purchase transaction relationship with the consumer.  While the consumer is moving forward and changing the manner in which they interact with the retailer along with the tools they use for this interaction, the average retailer is focused on pricing strategies along with new purchasing and delivery options.  Consumers have embraced mobile technology to help them change the way they shop and retailers must recognize this ‘new reality’ in order to support and retain the consumer and sales.

 

Don’t get me wrong, the logistics of the purchase and delivery is critical to the success of the customer relationship, however this is changing from a differentiating factor to a cost of entry.  Purchase and delivery logistics that support the changing consumer lifestyle and demands have been changing with the demands of the industry.  This has been considered and required as a market entry basic business requirement and carriers, especially parcel carriers, have been changing and enhancing their capabilities to meet these consumer demands.  The reason this has been successful for the carriers and the retailers using these carriers is that the carrier is focused on one thing; delivery to the consumer in the manner that meets the consumer demands.  This has worked very well because these carriers are focused on one function and they have improved dramatically based on the demands of the omni channel marketplace.

 

I see the challenge with the retailer and their new requirement to focus on the customer relationship to retain customers and maintain sales.  This means that retailers recognize the power and influence of social networking on the omni channel shopping and based on this  must develop new practices to engage the consumer in this social shopping.  Retailers know that every touch by a consumer does not result in a sale and up to know the key strategy of retailers has been a type of commodity sales based on price.  Retailers have now recognized that a low cost and ‘always a sale’ strategy impacts the retailer brand image in negative ways that generate a negative force in sales and consumer perception.  A key point related to this realization is that large omni channel retailers cannot continue to compete with Amazon or Google in a price war and hope to win. 

 

The new omni channel will focus on the customer relationship first and then on the sales because the relationship will encourage the return and retention of the customer.  This is a next step progression of the omni channel and the consumer is way ahead of the average large retailer in their utilization of mobile technology to create this true omni channel marketplace.  Retailers must now recognize and embrace the inevitable in order to maintain and grow their market share and sales.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


I have seen discussions on methods of adaptive collaboration and adaptive supply chain and this resonated with me for consumer retail shopping and purchasing as it relates to the discontinuous and disruptive change that mobile technology is driving into the retail industry as a whole.  The objective that I have been discussing is a significant retailer challenge to adapt to the consumer’s changing demands that are being driven by mobile communication and technology capabilities.  There is a great need and unmet demand for flexibility to adapt to the changing demands of the consumer based on their ability to combine mobile technology and apps in new ways to support their changing shopping and purchasing requirements.

 

This challenge requires an infrastructure that is robust enough to support the heavy demands of both the internal research, support and management team along with the external customers to expand as the demands expand.  The internal demands on the infrastructure will increase dramatically as it relates to both the volume of data collected and the analysis of this data to understand beginning trends and ending trends.  I call out identification of ending trends because it is extremely important for the retailer to maintain currency, this includes not only adding new capabilities as they are identified and also, just as important, dropping capabilities as they run their course and the customer loses interest.  The external customer demands new capabilities and expanded services that are increasing across all channels.  These demands and services are falling now on the eCommerce sales channel due to the increase in mobile technology and capabilities that are utilized by the customers from all channels.  This is probably one of the greatest demands on the infrastructure. 

 

This challenge requires flexibility in the foundation framework to be able to quickly and efficiently add new features and functionality as they are identified by the internal management team.  This flexibility is the greatest challenge to retailers, in my opinion, because it requires the ability to support currently unimagined capabilities.  Of course the flip side of the new capabilities is the removal of non-performing capabilities.  This removal is also a very important aspect of maintaining a fresh and interesting site and it requires a robust evaluation and maintenance plan from the internal management team.

 

A third challenge is the actual internal management team tasked with analysis of trends and maintenance of capabilities (both the addition and removal of capabilities).  The retailer cannot downplay the importance of this requirement because the consumer, and especially the young consumers that should represent a key focus of the management team are quick to change and adopt new capabilities.  This requires an energetic, imaginative and inquisitive mindset to continuously monitor and explore the changing demands and direction of consumer interest in order to stay current in the omni channel framework.  

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Large retailers now have a great opportunity to expand and improve their relationship with consumers through an omni channel focus on customer relationships to increase consumer loyalty through improved focus on relationships.  One distinct advantage of the small and local retailer is the direct relationship they are able to develop with their customers.  This relationship provides a compelling reason for customers to return for the social interaction.  Extending the omni channel to focus on the relationship with consumers now provides a vehicle for large retailers to engage with their customers on a more personal level.  This personal engagement will allow the larger retailer to develop a stronger personal relationship with their customers to develop the same compelling reason for customers to return that is now enjoyed by the small and local retailers.

 

Large retailers lost this relationship as a result of growth and a single minded focus on profits and sales increases.  These large retailers focused on the transactional aspect of the purchase rather than the consumer experience and most importantly the relationship with the consumer.  This transactional focus by the large retailers worked well for quite a while however a key result is that the consumer relationship was ignored.  This focus on transactions and down playing of the relationship created the current environment for large retailers where the customer is focused on the transaction and demands the lowest cost transaction.  Consumers have incorporated the expanded search and shopping capabilities provided by the Internet and mobile technology to allow them to purchase at the lowest price, without regard for relationship, any time and from any place. 

 

This consumer demand and focus on price is really the result of the large retailer’s focus on the transactional purchase.  Consumer have incorporate omni channel purchasing capabilities with mobile technology and apps offered by third party developers to take complete advantage of the ability to identify and then purchase at the lowest cost.  This is a key and also unanticipated result of the retailer focus on cost, the retailers have trained their customers to focus on cost at the loss of loyalty.  Even loyalty programs are only another way to notify customers of sales and special offers, this is simply another vehicle to enforce and encourage a focus on cost. 

 

Large retailers have very long and difficult challenge ahead of them to turn the consumer focus on cost to a focus on their relationship with the retailer.  Retailers must refocus their interactions with consumers to a relationship focus rather than a transactional relationship.  The good news is that the retail omni channel capabilities provide the retailer with the tools to focus on the relationship across all interactions with their customers.  The bad news is that this will require the retailer to heavily invest from a time and resource perspective to develop loyalty through relationships because the retailer must retrain the consumers to focus on the positive and long term benefits of the relationship with the retailer.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Omni Channel Consumer Loyalty

Posted by tbrouill Jul 29, 2016


Retail customer retention is a key goal to success for retailers and a key focus of retailers.  I think that the retailer must change to focus on a loyalty through relationships strategy as a key to customer retention.  It’s a very simple equation; in order for a retailer to maintain success their customers must return to purchase on a regular basis.  You can see that every program and strategy revolves around new customers purchasing for the first time and existing customers returning for more purchases.   When I think about this from a retail program perspective every program revolves around cost of the product and some type of discount for the returning customer.  Think about the retail strategy and you will see that everything revolves around price and discount, every retail strategy either offers the product at the lowest price or promotes loyalty programs that provide discounts based on purchases.  

 

Retailers are finding that the lowest cost and price discount strategies are not sustainable for the long term and while they realize this logically they have also been severely punished by customer flight when they try to change this strategy.  The problem that I see with this effort is that while the retailer professes a ‘low cost everyday’ program, the customer has been programmed to look for sales and discounts.  The issue as I see it is that the retailer is attempting to change the consumer focus on price through a price program and the consumer sees through the strategy.  In order to break free of the price demands of the customer I think the retailer must focus on a completely different reason for the customer to return.  This is where the loyalty through relationships strategy comes into play to subsidize the low price strategy with a goal of replacing the low price strategy as a primary focus.

 

Larger retailers should take a queue from small local retailers that flourish because of the relationship they develop with their customers and because of the quality and unique factors of their product mix. Small and local retailers are able to achieve success because they develop a relationship with their customers; they know them by name and they remember their purchases and are able to suggest based on past purchases.  Shopping in a successful small retailer is a social experience with the retailer and other customers in the store.  Large retailers would do well to re-introduce that concept across all channels.  I say that large retailers should re-introduce this concept because they dropped the concept in the past due to a focus on cost reductions.  Now, in order to break out of the negative cost strategy they must introduce the loyalty through relationships strategy all over again.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Consumers are using mobile technology and social networking tools to redefine the meaning of omni channel commerce to incorporate the shopping concept on top of purchasing.  Consumers are showing an immense interest in mobile technology and the consumers are incorporating their use of mobile technology to enhance their every day by utilizing social networking tools via the mobile platform.  The consumer has shown imagination and ingenuity in their usage of social networking tools and the mobile technology platform to create new methods to communicate and share experiences and recommendations across their social network.  The consumer is using these capabilities to reshape the way they interact with retailers, restaurants and entertainment which in turn is driving these industries to re-evaluate their consumer interactions and relationships. 

 

The mobile technology and the tools available from the mobile app stores are allowing consumers to exert control over their shopping and interaction with retailers that has not been seen previously.  These changes are driving a revolution in the retail industry that cannot be ignored without falling victim to losing market share and eventually failing business.  Retailers must embrace the mobile and social networking technologies in full acceptance and integration to create a new omni channel shopping and purchasing experience.  It is up to the retailer to provide a platform that encourages the consumers to return frequently and also allows the consumer to interact with the retailer and especially other consumers to create a safe and open social network shopping experience that crosses channels with ease and promotes the consumer interaction first rather than the sale first. 

 

This extended platform incorporating the social networking technologies and practices is really an extension of the current omni channel platform to incorporate social networking and mobile technologies to support the shopping platform. The platform though requires the flexibility to incorporate, or bolt on, new mobile technology along with changing social networking tools to create a robust platform for consumer social interaction.  These tools, technology and capabilities must be continuously monitored, maintained and replaced by a skilled staff of social networking and mobile technology resources in order to maintain a fresh site that encourages consumers to return.

 

The retailer loyalty program must be included as an integral tool and capability in this social shopping strategy as a framework for consumers to participate and interact with other consumers.  This loyalty program must be opened to focus on the consumer networking capabilities that can be provided rather than only a means for the retailer to collect data.  Its great that the loyalty program provides benefits in the form of discounts and sales to the consumer.  However, in order to reach it’s full potential this loyalty program must be turned into a retail social community of members and participants and provide the means to connect and share with other consumers to extend the shopping capabilities and benefits.   

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

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