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Tom Brouillette Thoughts at Large

760 posts


Retail has been continuously changing since the 1990’s, in reality though retail is always changing and growing, based on how retailers have perceived the consumer demands.  The challenges for retailers have been related to determining how to understand the demands and then how to deliver on those demands.  The major and large retailers seem to have difficulty in translating the consumer demands though and seem to have an issue in delivering on the demands.  I really attribute these difficulties to the major retailers control issues and also their belief that they must follow the procedures defined by others that are deemed to understand the retailer demands. 

 

The challenge for major retailers now is giving up control of consumers purchasing and embracing collaboration with consumers to support their shopping demands.  These changes in consumer interactions related to shopping and purchasing are now being driven in reaction to the growth and expansion of millennials.  These demands though are focused on collaboration and are demonstrated by the growth in mobile shopping and networking apps recently.  Retailers have been chasing the consumer demands and reacting by providing extended means of purchasing and ignoring the underlying consumer desires and demands.  It seems to me that the major retailers require a shock to the system in order to understand the new consumer demands. 

 

In order to survive and succeed going forward retailers must change from telling consumers what they should want and how they should purchase to collaborating with consumers to develop a virtual.  Millennials are changing the definition of consumer interaction and retailers are having difficulty in reacting to these new definitions.  Millennials having been expanding their reach and impact now in the retail marketplace for years and I believe that we are reaching a tipping point in their impact.  The market has reached the point now where all consumers have had the opportunity understand and embrace the changes that millennials have been developing through social networks and third party apps.

 

Consumers have taken the opportunity to embrace these new capabilities and have left the large retailers behind with these new practices to struggle to both understand and react to the impact.  We have entered into a new age of virtual department stores and the legacy department stores must understand that their practices must change to interact with these new consumers and consumer demands.  The major eCommerce retailers already understand these demands and are able to change to incorporate the demands while the legacy department stores seem to be ignoring these demands and reacting in ways that easily interact with consumers based on the retailer existing practices rather than understanding and meeting consumer demands.

 

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?

 


Millennials are already impacting the retail market through shopping and purchasing practices that fit better into their lifestyles and priorities.  This impact has been increasing for a while now and the millennials have been building their own virtual shopping and purchasing capabilities through social networks, mobile technology and third party apps supporting virtual shopping.  These demands and practices can no longer be ignored or fought by retailers, retailers must now embrace the practices and undertake a strategy of collaboration and partnership with millennials in order to succeed in the future.  Major retailers must make this significant shift, the smaller retailers have already embraced these practices and now the large retailers must embrace these shifts in order to survive.

 

There is now a history in the retail market of changes and shifts that seem to burst onto the market and require major retailers to try to adjust to survive.  Many retailers over the years have not been able to shift and have fallen by the wayside, the best example of this is the impact of Amazon on the book seller market.  If anything, the shifts in consumer practices have sped up and become more pervasive in the market and this due in large part to the millennial impact on the retail market.  Millennials have shown over and over an impatience with the status quo along with a desire to explore and develop new capabilities to meet their demands.  Millennials have grown up in technology and have a level of comfort with technology and especially in social networking and collaboration that is now driving their development of a virtual shopping and purchasing market that is disrupting the retail market.

 

Retailers must realize that they can no longer control consumer practices and they must now collaborate with consumers in order to succeed.  I see this as a long and very difficult road for the major retailers and frankly I believe we are coming into another time of great retail disruption as the major retailers thrash through the final stages of the baby boomer age of retail and move into the millennial age of retail.  Let’s face reality, major retailers are currently run by baby boomers that have a history of control and direction of the retail marketplace and relationship with consumers and now millennials are threatening this control in a retail relationship revolution. 

 

We are coming into an interesting age of the retail market that is starting with a generational clash between control and collaboration.  There will be many struggles between retailers and consumers while the market changes and while these struggles are required in order to wring the failing practices and retailers from the market there is only one outcome and that is the reign of collaboration between consumer and 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?


Millennials are already impacting the retail market through shopping and purchasing practices that fit better into their lifestyles and priorities.  This impact has been increasing for a while now and the millennials have been building their own virtual shopping and purchasing capabilities through social networks, mobile technology and third party apps supporting virtual shopping.  These demands and practices can no longer be ignored or fought by retailers, retailers must now embrace the practices and undertake a strategy of collaboration and partnership with millennials in order to succeed in the future.  Major retailers must make this significant shift, the smaller retailers have already embraced these practices and now the large retailers must embrace these shifts in order to survive.

 

There is now a history in the retail market of changes and shifts that seem to burst onto the market and require major retailers to try to adjust to survive.  Many retailers over the years have not been able to shift and have fallen by the wayside, the best example of this is the impact of Amazon on the book seller market.  If anything, the shifts in consumer practices have sped up and become more pervasive in the market and this due in large part to the millennial impact on the retail market.  Millennials have shown over and over an impatience with the status quo along with a desire to explore and develop new capabilities to meet their demands.  Millennials have grown up in technology and have a level of comfort with technology and especially in social networking and collaboration that is now driving their development of a virtual shopping and purchasing market that is disrupting the retail market.

 

Retailers must realize that they can no longer control consumer practices and they must now collaborate with consumers in order to succeed.  I see this as a long and very difficult road for the major retailers and frankly I believe we are coming into another time of great retail disruption as the major retailers thrash through the final stages of the baby boomer age of retail and move into the millennial age of retail.  Let’s face reality, major retailers are currently run by baby boomers that have a history of control and direction of the retail marketplace and relationship with consumers and now millennials are threatening this control in a retail relationship revolution. 

 

We are coming into an interesting age of the retail market that is starting with a generational clash between control and collaboration.  There will be many struggles between retailers and consumers while the market changes and while these struggles are required in order to wring the failing practices and retailers from the market there is only one outcome and that is the reign of collaboration between consumer and 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?

 


Consumers are using social networking tools and and information to support their shopping and purchasing practices in ways that change and expand on such a frequent basis that it is impossible for retailers to react and control.  Consumers have embraced these social networking tools in every aspect of their lifestyle and retail shopping and purchasing is no different.  Consumers use their social network in addition to the new eCommerce shopping capabilities introduced by Amazon to publish reviews and allow consumers to ask specific questions of other shoppers and previous purchasers of products.  With the expansion of location and subject specific advertising and third party shopping apps consumers have been able to create a virtual shopping mall that enhances their shopping capabilities and allows true any time and any where shopping and purchasing.

 

Retailers have been providing any time and any where product purchasing capabilities for a long time and for the most part they have remained focused on simplification of the purchase.  Consumers however have been searching and building methods and capabilities to shop any time and any where.  There is a big difference and the outcome of this difference is methods to support the consumer retail shopping and purchasing demands in a virtual shopping mall environment.  These social tools have allowed consumers to shop and interact with friends and family virtually in the same manner they interacted at the malls. These location and subject based tools allow consumers to streamline and focus their shopping in a manner that shortens the search and promotes additional sales based on their actual interests rather than the blanket advertising.

 

Some retailers understand and embrace this social virtual shopping trend, while others are fighting to remain in the past.  Retailers must engage in consumer social networks and provide a community site that encourages consumers to engage on the site and most importantly, to return to the site.  Retailers must utilize social networking tools and social network outlets to encourage consumers to return and shop a their site and to explore products.  The social network tools and capabilities provide a means for other consumers to interact directly with each other to provide reviews and recommendations to others.  Consumers want to engage with other consumers and provide advice based on their experience and retailers must learn to channel these actions to encourage consumers to return and linger on their site.

 

Retailers must focus on encouraging consumers to return and engage at their site in order to maintain sales and succeed in the future.  Retailers must end their focus on the purchase and enhance their focus on shopping and the consumer engagement.  Retailers can use social networking tools and capabilities to enhance the consumer experience in ways that provide an type of personal shopper experience and encourage the consumer to return and engagement with the retailer and other consumers.  Social networking tools and capabilities allow retailers to engage again with consumers and that is what consumers are searching for, someone to pay attention to their own personal needs and desires. 

 

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 already seen an impact on Black Friday sales and plans resulting from the impact of consumer lifestyle demands in the focus purchasing outlets changing from brick and mortar to virtual purchasing methods.  These changes began in earnest last year and are expanding and continuing this year.  You already have seen an impact on purchasing from eCommerce over the last few days especially from consumers that have shifted from in-store purchasing to eComerce purchasing and this shift is not taking place along generational lines.  These shifts are taking place based on lifestyle demands and opportunities where consumers are given a choice in purchasing online or fighting the crowds, a great deal more consumers are choosing to make the purchase online.

 

A major factor in these shifts is consumer comfort and confidence in the technology and the online purchasing services.  Another factor is the embrace of mobile technology (smartphones, apps and network) and social networking by consumers of all generations and the expansion of commercial advertising on these networks.  Consumers are taking control of their shopping and purchasing practices now more than ever and utilizing the mobile tools and technology in these changes to allow them to tailor their shopping and purchasing to meet their changing lifestyles

 

These factors are interesting to me because by all accounts and appearances the major retailers have been caught flat footed from these shifting consumer demands.  The majority of major retailers and by all accounts news outlets as well have been focused in the past and controlling consumer purchasing while consumers themselves are changing their shopping and purchasing practices.  The news outlets are still focused on the brick and mortar Black Friday shopping crowds while consumers are continuing to shift to virtual shopping and eCommerce purchasing.  I see the news reports hyping the shopping while I hear a completely different story when discussing Christmas shopping with friends and family.

 

These changes are impacting the not only the consumer to retailer relationship and they are also affecting the manufacturer to consumer relationship from the perspective of both interaction and purchasing.  Most major large retailers continue fight consumer shopping changes by focusing limiting sales across channels and ignoring consumer and partner collaboration.  Consumers have already moved beyond these futile limitations through their embrace of new tools and apps offered by third party developers and the wireless services.  Retailers must shift their focus now to support consumer lifestyles and collaboration demands if they are to succeed and even survive in the retail environment 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?

 


Retailers are challenged to adjust and incorporate new methods and features demanded by consumers to encourage and ensure consumer retention and sales.  These demands are especially challenging because they require a level of collaboration and open cooperation across partners and consumers at greater and greater levels.  These demands are coming faster and faster as millennials have entered into the marketplace bringing with them increased integration and collaboration demands.  Retailers have displayed a history of fighting consumer demands for collaboration and support of new shopping methods.  Unfortunately for retailers this hesitation has not slowed consumer change however it has hurt consumer relationships with retailers.

 

Retailers have struggled with incorporating consumer demands into their shopping and purchasing capabilities and as such their relationships with consumers.  I see the impact of the millennial generation directly on the demands and retailer relationship with consumers.  Millennials have taken the technology available to mash together in ways that support their demands and bypass retailer efforts to control purchasing.  Consumers now have shopping options supported by technology that are highly flexible and support their changing lifestyles.  Retailers now are struggling to in their attempts to control rather than building collaborative environments that can engage the consumers in their new demands. 

 

Consumers have recognized and embraced the tools available to improve their shopping and purchasing capabilities to meet their lifestyle needs.  There are thousands of outlets from online to brick and mortar that consumers can utilize and consumers are beginning to embrace the tools that will allow them to shop and purchase in the most efficient manner.  The large retailers must now recognize and adjust to these demands if they are to survive much longer.  I see large retailers struggling to adjust and control changes in shopping and purchasing when they should be collaborating with partners and consumers to develop new shopping practices that support consumer demands.

 

The large retailers have been stuck in the past in their practices and must incorporate dramatic change into their capabilities and relationships with consumers and their supply chain partners.  There is a dramatic change coming and retailers must change in order to survive in the future.  Consumers are in the beginning stages of taking control of their shopping and purchasing in ways that were not available a year ago and in addition, a year from now the changes in the environment will be even greater.  Retailers have no choice, they must change or die and change does not mean a focus on the lowest price, free shipping or purchasing any time, change means collaboration and developing new relationships with consumers and other retailers to support consumer lifestyles.  This holiday season will see a greater shift to online purchasing and retailers must adjust to this in creating a virtual environment that supports the consumer shopping needs.

 

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 creating a virtual shopping experience across platforms and partners, or content producers, and products that resembles in many ways a crowdsourcing shopping and purchasing environment.  This environment produces production suggestions and recommendations based on consumer feedback and suggestions and then allows the consumers to search on factors that influence their purchase such as price, availability and service factors.  Retailers would do well to evaluate their practices as they relate to this new consumer behavior and this crowdsourcing practices to align their strategies to support incorporate their practices to both support and then learn from these new shopping and purchasing practices.

 

The challenge with these consumer shopping and purchasing practices for retailers is to identify and then determine how to relate and support these practices.  Retailers must understand that they will not be able to control and direct these practices, which is a big change for the large retailers.  This is where we see the large retailers struggling quite frankly as well because it is extremely easy for consumers to walk away in the virtual shopping mall for any reason.  Consumers have embraced these new practices in large part because it puts them in control of their purchasing and provides a wide variety of options that can be used to support their lifestyle requirements where time and location do not hinder the ability to purchase.

 

There are a variety of tools that consumers have embraced to extend their virtual shopping with the critical factor now being the smartphone and wireless capabilities.  These two tools together are changing the way consumers interact with the retailer through apps and tools that allow them to connect and interact immediately while shopping.  Consumers are now able to mash up interactions and discussions with their social networks along with shopping apps that provide suggestions and shopping information based on both product and location.  This provides a type of continuous pop-up sales running commentary that allows consumers to extend their virtual shopping and utilize the information provided by these divergent providers to enhance their shopping experience.

 

As an example of the power of the smartphone, wireless and consumer apps capabilities Google now provides enhanced location search and notification capabilities that extend and improve the consumer experience by providing, without your specific request, location based suggestions for finding your way around.  When you go into a mall parking lot, for instance, Google will provide a map of the mall with locations of all the stores in the mall along with a summary of the products offered in the store.  Combine that with Facebook social network interaction and shopping apps such as Retail Me Not and you come up with a killer shopping opportunity for consumers that eliminates the dependency on retailers.  This is just the beginning of location based technology mashed up with social networking to improve the consumer 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?

 

tbrouill

Retail Purchase To Shopping

Posted by tbrouill Nov 19, 2016


Large retailers find themselves now in a struggle to maintain sales and develop a method and strategy that helps them reduce their dependence on low prices.  Large retailers are struggling now with the growth of millennials in the marketplace and the impact on purchasing practices by millennials.  Finally large retailers are also struggling with engaging and reacting to consumer lifestyle changes that are also impacting consumer purchasing and shopping practices.  Retailers must now analyze how they react to these changes and also implement a strategy and process to institutionalize a continuous improvement process to identify and react to changes that are coming more quickly. 

 

Consumers are changing their shopping practices and this I believe is the key to the changes currently impacting the retail market.  These changes to shopping habits are being driven, by a very large extent, by millennials and they are driven by their comfort in the virtual world of social networking and communications.  Their experimentation and pushing in social networking and also in mash-ups of different apps and technologies is the impetus behind the changes being driven into the retail market.  This is also what is driving the confusion and frustration with major large retailers. 

 

Large retailers have always been in control of the relationship with consumers and now they have been knocked off-balance by the changes that millennials are introducing for two reasons:

  1. The millennials are not intimidated with the size or the history of these large retailers. 
  2. Millennials have a very deep comfort in both technology and collaboration that allows them to experiment and improve capabilities through a wide base of contributors. 

Millennials have taken the collaboration group development practices of the open source technology methods and practices to a new level of practices and capabilities.  They are using guerilla tactics to collaboratively develop these capabilities through a wide network of collaborators that is always growing and shrinking based on interest.  Millennials seem to live at the bleeding edge of capabilities that is continuously pushing limits and practices. This type of practice is at odds with the major retailer practice of control and aversion to bleeding edge practices.

 

In order to survive in this new environment large retailers must increase collaboration and loosen their normal habits of control and aversion to change.  Consumers have found that they are only limited in their shopping and purchasing by their imagination and most of the large retailers are three steps behind in their offerings. Consumers are putting together new combinations of shopping and purchasing capabilities based on a wide range of third party tools and support and these changes are being driven now at a pace that is unsettling for the large retailers.  The retailers will continue to reel and stumble from one service to another until they learn to collaborate with consumers and third party services to create the ability to continuously change and react to consumer shopping and purchasing demands.

 

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

Retail Consumer Engagement

Posted by tbrouill Nov 17, 2016


Retailers over the years have been moving away from consumer engagement for years into a consumer self serve strategy as a means to contain costs.  This has slowly but surely chipped away at the retailer’s relationship with consumers until reaching the point of providing no clear reason for consumers to purchase at a retailer other than cost.  I am not a big shopper but I noticed the problem for a long time and this has been highlighted on the occasions when a sales clerk really does engage to make the purchase experience positive.  For the most part consumers are left to sift through products that are disheveled out of place to find the product they desire.  New technology and especially mobile and wireless technology when coupled with eCommerce and social networking tools provide the means to implement a consumer engagement strategy.

 

This consumer engagement strategy requires investment in technology and people to develop the robust consumer platform required to support the extended consumer engagement that will encourage consumer retention and growth.  Consumers are searching for methods to engage in shopping that allows them to interact with their friends and family while shopping and also provides a means to engage the retailer and streamline the purchase.  Large retailers need to focus more on engaging the consumer and encouraging interaction between consumers and the retailer in order to increase the likelihood of a purchase. Technology and especially the mash up of mobile, wireless and social networking technology allows the large retailer to provide the consumer with a positive experience across channels and across geographic regions.  These technology tools should be used to enhance the consumer experience with the retailer across all channels rather than segmenting the consumer experience by channel.

 

Consumers have already started down this path and it seems that the large retailers have been left to struggle with how to interact with consumers and increase sales by channel.  This is exactly the wrong focus and retailer should be focused on consumer engagement and the consumer experience across channels.  Consumers know, and they have shown, that they are comfortable purchasing in any channel and now they are pushing this engagement across channels by utilizing mobile technology.   Consumers are creating their own shopping experience using mobile tools that allow them access any time and any place. 

 

Retailers and especially large retailers must change their strategy to support and encourage consumer engagement to create a holistic shopping and purchasing experience across channels.  If retailers do not encourage the engagement and collaboration with consumers to provide this shopping and purchasing experience they will be left with a losing spiral of price competition that cannot be sustained.  We are beginning to see the fallout now across some of the major iconic retailers and based on history this will quicken causing the failure, or dramatic realignment of many of these retailers.

 

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?

 


Based on my own experience and my own expectations of retailers in shopping I see there is a deficit of service in the retail marketplace. This deficit of service is impacting the sales for large regional retailers and requiring that they focus on their relationships with consumers from a cost perspective.  This is the worst strategy for a retailer to base their future and retailers are coming around to this realization now.  Service in the retail omni channel market means a great deal of things and the challenge for retailers is that this can mean different things for different consumers and even different consumer groups and generations. Retailers are missing out because they focus more on pushing information to consumers than interacting with consumers to develop a relationship.

 

The interactive marketplace provides the vehicle for retailers and especially large retailers to provide services to the consumer to improve the overall shopping experience.   The new capabilities created and demanded by consumers are related to service and interaction with the retailer for a variety of reasons.  These range from availability, size, combinations of products to create a set or even an outfit, special offerings and notification.  This is can be a non-stop conversation with consumers that encourages and requests feedback and interaction and also encourages consumers to bring their friends and family to the experience.  Consumers are looking for direct and interactive service and these social, mobile and wireless technologies provide the vehicle to support the interactions.

 

Most of the large retailers have been moving away from sales clerks in their stores and have been adding to the duties of the store employees over the years as a means of reducing costs.  This in turn has eliminated or dramatically reduced the interaction of employees with consumers.  Retailers must view these consumer technologies and demands as a means to engage the consumer and provide personalized service during the consumer shopping experience.  These technologies provide  means for the retailer to personalize the consumer experience in any consumer interaction, whether in a store or shopping virtually with friends and family.  These consistent and global technical capabilities also allow the retailer to recognize and continue the personal consumer interaction via any method the consumer chooses.

 

This consumer engagement strategy requires investment in technology and people to develop the robust consumer platform required to support this extended consumer engagement.  One key piece to the strategy is extended the virtual shopping experience for consumers while in the physical store.  Consumers are shopping at all times of the day and night in all places where the connection and the technology is available and this requires the retailer to extend that virtual shopping place and capabilities into the store.  It is not enough for retailers to provide a wireless connection to the Internet and a localized web site that pushes sales information to the consumer.  Retailers must provide a virtual social shopping outlet for consumers while in the store so the consumer can easily continue shopping by utilizing their online shopping cart and then social connectivity while shopping in the store.

 

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

tbrouill

Millennial Retail

Posted by tbrouill Nov 13, 2016


Millennials have moved the focus on all aspects of community, social interaction and retail by their expansion into these aspects as they are maturing.  The millennials maturation though is much different than other previous generations because of their embrace of technology and curiosity in all areas of interaction.  What this boils down to is that millennials are bringing to the market a different focus and expertise in shopping and purchasing to fit into their lifestyle and priorities.  This is a key factor in driving change and a general upheaval in the retail market and this upheaval is driving dramatic change into the retail market.  Many of the larger retailers are struggling with these demands and incorporating a strategy that allows them to support these demands.

 

This comes down to a clash of generations in the retail marketplace and retailers are struggling to keep up with the change.  There is nothing new as far as the retail practice being impacted based on generational changes, the baby boomers had a huge impact on lifestyles and now millennials are beginning to drive the same level of change into the markets and lifestyles.  Unfortunately for retailers, this current clash combines the use of technology with the goals and demands of the millennial consumer to drive dramatic change in the retail market.  This technology and the millennial comfort in the technology is a key factor to the rate and extent of change related to this clash.  This technology factor also eliminates a great deal of control that retailers were able to exert in the past. 

 

This loss of control for the retailer has become a fact of life now and retailers must incorporate collaboration with the consumer and flexibility in their practices in order to navigate through the changes.  This requires not only a change in attitude and perspective from the retailer, it also requires a dramatic change in technology strategy.  The retailer's success depends though on changing their attitude towards consumers to one of cooperation and collaboration.  This attitude also requires creating and extending partnerships not only with consumers but also with the entire extended supply chain.  The retailer’s technology strategy and framework must change to support this collaboration and partnership.  This means a focus on flexibility and integration to allow swift change to meet the changing demands of the consumer. 

 

This requires the retailer technology and cultural view toward their partners, including consumers, to become more open and flexible to support the changing demands of consumers and the consumer technology demands.  The retailer must embrace these changes in order to meet the changing demands of consumers.  Some retailers are beginning to recognize the change and are taking measures to begin to change their relationship with consumers, other retailers are stuck in the past and chasing prior demands of consumers.  Retailers must first change their view towards the change and their relationship with consumers in order to understand and prepare for the technology changes coming.  Without a change in attitude, it will only be a matter of time before they disappear. 

 

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

Retail Mobile Collaboration

Posted by tbrouill Nov 12, 2016


Omni channel retailers must begin to integrate mobile and wireless technology capabilities into their retail stores to fully engage consumers across the spectrum of interactive platforms.  What I mean by this is that retailers must open then in-store networks to consumers to encourage them to connect and interact while in the store to fully engage the virtual shopping experience.  All smart phones whether Android or Apple come with similar features and functionality and consumers continuously use their smartphones to engage and extend their experience.  Retailers are missing out on a significant opportunity if they do not engage the consumer from the retailer's network and web site. 

 

This virtual outlet provides the consumer with an ‘endless aisles’ feature that will encourage them to remain in the store for their shopping needs and they can utilize the eCommerce purchasing channel for items not available in the store.  The in store wireless engagement also allows the retailer to engage in location based  sales to alert the consumer of special offers based on their location in the store.  Consumers can engage in a virtual shopping spree with their friends and family that allows consumers to engage in the virtual shopping experience.  This is the key to meeting consumer demands, allowing consumer contact and shopping from any place and any time. 

 

Consumers are already leaps and bounds ahead of retailers in this aspect and there are really very few multi channel retailers that are beginning to experiment with virtual shopping.  Kohls is one of the few that I have come across from the large national retail chains that is actively working on engaging consumers in their stores through their web site.  I do not believe that retailers will success in the future unless they engage with consumers collaboratively in the virtual realm to support the consumer changing lifestyles.  This is difficult for the larger retailers because it is directly at odds with their generally accepted practices and concepts for shopping and purchasing. 

 

Consumers have the tools now available in their hands with smartphones and wireless network access to create their own shopping and purchasing experience.  Millennials especially are demanding changes in their relationships with retailers to support their demands and from a technology perspective they will be driving the changes.  Millennials have overtaken the baby boomers in numbers and their impact on the consumer market has been growing for a while now.  The millennials bring to the market a focus on collaboration and technology that is changing the retail market and retailers must, in turn, change their practices to meet these changing demands.  Consumers have grown comfortable with purhcasing electronically and do not necessarily require touching products prior to purchase.  Consumers changing lifestyles also allow less time for shopping in physical stores.  These two trends combine mean dramatic changes for retailers and consumer collaboration is the only practice that will allow retailers to maintain 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?

 


I think it's safe to say that Amazon has set the standard for consumer interaction and collaboration in their retail shopping experience and that Amazon understands and has also set the standard for engaging consumers and providing new services to enhance the consumer experience and encourage retention.  The way in which I measure this is the volume and types of service adoption by other retailers.  Amazon has clearly shown leadership in the consumer retail experience and has been leading the retail shopping revolution to support the new demands from consumers based on their changing lifestyles along with the changing retail shopping and purchasing environments.  Other retailers are more often than not simply following Amazon’s lead in the retail ecommerce channel.

 

The challenge though for retailers and especially large national retail chains is breaking the categorization of consumer shopping and purchasing into channels.  Consumers certainly do not view their shopping and purchasing as omni channel, they view their activities as shopping and purchasing period.  I see this practice of retailers as a key hindrance to expanding and collaborating with consumers to retain the consumers and encourage the consumer to not only return, but to return and encourage their friends and family to return.  The large retailers have shown a discontinuous adoption and incorporation of mobile and collaboration tools to encourage consumer collaboration.  I believe this limited success and high failure rate is related mainly to the methods and strategy followed by many of the large retailers.  They are in many way stuck in their legacy improvement model where they implement a large initiative and then live on the benefits of that initiative for three to five years.

 

This improvement model does not work in the mobile technology world and retailers must change their practices to a continuous improvement model to allow for validation and adjustment of improvements to both gain benefits and also validate assumptions prior to a large investment.  Retailers, and especially large retailers, must implement a framework and a methodology that supports and allows incremental change as required and demanded by consumers.  In addition, retailers must also embrace collaboration and partnerships across their extended supply chain and especially with consumers.  The best path to success in the future requires an engaged and committed consumer base that drives retention and sales. 

 

Consumer collaboration and engagement across channels to provide one cohesive experience blending the channels it the path to consumer engagement and increased sales.  Retailers have been focused on the sale and supporting the ability to obtain the sale in the various channels.  I think that the success and expansion of social networking shows that consumers are drawn to collaboration and the ability to engage on the personal level that collaboration provides.  Mobile and wireless technology provides the ability to eliminate the walls between channels and support the consumer demands for collaboration and a virtual experience that cross channels allowing consumers to engage based on their demands or needs at the time.   

 

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 and wireless technology to expand their social network interaction to support their new lifestyle requirements and this is crossing over into their shopping and purchasing practices as well.  Shopping and purchasing practices are a natural extension and pair up for mobile and wireless technology and consumers have embraced the capabilities to expand their virtual social world across friend, family and into shopping and purchasing.  Consumers are using this technology to collaborate across their social network to support their ecommerce neets and this means that retailers must take this into account in their own technology and sales strategies to remain current and succeed in the future. 

 

Consumers have already embraced a high level of collaboration across their social network to support their virtual networking and are utilizing this technology to shape and driver their interaction with retailers.  Consumers are focused on collaboration to support their lifestyles and retailers must also embrace collaboration technology and practices across the entire extended supply chain in order to provide the flexibility and capabilities in a manner and speed that consumers are now demanding.   With their embrace of these practices and technologies consumers have taken control of their relationship with retailers and in order to succeed going forward retailers must also change and embrace these practices and technologies.

 

This is difficult for many large retailers because of their dependence on monolithic technology supporting their legacy practices and, frankly, their legacy practices themselves.  Consumers are dragging retailers, and their supply chain partners, kicking and screaming to support new practices.  I see Amazon as a major player in embracing the consumer collaboration demands and the technology to support these new changing demands and practices.  Amazon came to the table with the advantage of no monolithic technology architecture to hinder their adoption, however, Amazon has been vigilant and even ruthless in maintaining the capabilities and practices that allows them to change as quickly as consumer demands change..

 

Amazon also regularly brings new technology to the consumer area in experiments to develop new practices and capabilities.  This practice of collaboration with consumers and drive to experiment in the market is a key success factor for Amazon.  Large retailers seem to have an attention span challenge in maintaining momentum and collaboration with consumers.  These large retailers recognize signs of changes in the marketplace and then take initial steps to embrace the changes, unfortunately they fall down in maintaining the focus and extending the collaboration with consumers.  One key challenge for large retailers is maintaining the strategy of collaboration and change.  These large retailers now suffer from a lack of patience that is displayed as a lack of persistence and a lack of imagination to identify and deliver new capabilities.

 

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 engage with consumers at the level and in the method that consumers demand.  Consumers now are demanding retailers to engage through a blend of mobile and social technology and engage at a personal level during the shopping process based on the consumer location.  This is quite a conundrum for retailers because it requires a complete re-evaluation and rebuilding of their shopping and purchasing strategy.  Unfortunately most retailers are more backward looking than forward looking in their consumer sales and shopping strategies.  The retail industry has always been made up of a few leading edge ‘explorers’ with the majority focused on maintaining their sales base and steady sales increases.

 

The combination of mobile and wireless technology may be the new ‘killer app’ that changes the landscape of retail and consumer participation and engagement.  This combination provides consumers with an array of tools and connectivity that allows the consumer to blend the physical with the virtual in more and more of their activities.  This quickly crossed into the retail arena allowing consumers to use location based search apps and social notification apps such as FourSquare or Swarm to inquire and share reviews, opinions and sales tips for every aspect of day to day life.  These capabilities have quickly grown into an important aspect of restaurant and entertainment and consumers are utilizing these same capabilities now in their shopping and purchasing practices.

 

Large retailers have been focused on their ecommerce presence and providing a mobile friendly version of the web site thinking that was the only requirement, while consumers have leaped ahead in the technology capabilities and usage to create their own shopping and purchasing virtual malls.  Consumers have been moving in this direction for years and the larger retailers seem to have been struggling with this for years as well.  Unfortunately for these retailers, consumers are not bound by corporate politics or power struggles and have moved on in their growth and technology engagement by embracing third party apps and molding social networking tools to meet their needs.

 

We have now reached a time though where retailers are beginning to see the changes and now some are taking steps to integrate new shopping and purchasing concepts into their strategy.  This is still in its infancy though and requires long term focus and support of the concepts before retailers see sustained results.  The challenge in the past for retailers has been in maintaining a long term continuous improvement and change strategy.  Retailers, and especially large retailers, generally have trouble maintaining a long term investment level without achieving short term results.  In this environment however retailers must maintain the investment and allow for a great deal of trial and error to achieve results.

 

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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