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2016


Consumer demands on shopping and purchasing practices will have a very large impact on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and shopping patterns.  This year may be a turning point for the market from a retail saturation perspective and start a shift in the consumer purchasing and shopping practices that change the retail market dramatically.  Last year saw an increase in the electronic sales while the brick and mortar sales remained relatively flat.  Since that time consumers have expanded their embrace of the technology and there has been an increase in collaborative shopping tools that will impact the holiday and especially Black Friday shopping and purchasing to tip the scales again in favor of eCommerce.

 

One factor that will be very interesting to see is the impact of Amazon on the fashion and apparel market and sales over the holiday season and especially the Black Friday weekend.  I think that this can be one of the greatest factors in driving the change that consumers have embraced into the retail market.  Amazon is a pervasive brand and now add to this fashion apparel product and the impact on brick and mortar sales can be dramatic.  I see this as a key factor to increasing consumer ‘window shopping’ in the brick and mortar stores and purchasing online through Amazon to simplify the product purchase and delivery. I have said for a while that retailers need to promote the combination of purchasing in the store and shipping to the consumer’s home to eliminate dragging the purchases around while shopping during Black Friday.  Now we will be able to test out this theory with the entry of Amazon into the fashion marketplace.

 

I think that retailers may be realizing they have reached the saturation point from a brick and mortar perspective because we are also seeing a reduction in the number of retailers store hours on Black Friday.  This could be the result of two reactions;

  1. Realization and acceptance of the eCommerce opportunity to increase sales without an increase in store hours.
  2. Pushback from employees and even consumers as a result of the crazy expansion of hours.  It could be that employees and consumers are simply saying enough is enough.

This is more than likely the result of the brick and mortar sales results from last year and the retailer's acceptance that they cannot increase sales simply by opening the store earlier on Thanksgiving!  This year we see the trends of more major malls and many of the retailers not opening on Thanksgiving.  I think this is more the realization that the  retailers have saturated the time period to the point limited return,or potentially negative return resulting from longer store hours.

 

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 driving monumental change into the retail market through their embrace of mobile technologies, wireless capability expansion and collaborative relationships across the extended supply chain.  Some of the key factors in this relationship expansion are presented by the expansion of collaborative relationships driven, and encouraged, by mobile technologies and wireless expansion.  Cross functional relationships throughout the retail market and especially the extended supply chain are encouraged by improvements in technology and capabilities.  The driving factor of the changes to the retail market are these collaborative cross functional relationships that are allowed by the technology in combination with the consumer drive to mold the retail market to meet their changing lifestyles.

 

These changes now look profound in their reach and impact, however, these changes did not just materialize overnight.  These changes have come incrementally over a period of years driven in large part by consumer desire to simplify and support their changing lifestyles.   Many retailers have either ignored, or worse, fought these changes over the years causing a lucrative market of third party apps that support the consumer desires without dependence on one retailer.  It seems that while many large retailers were focused on a price war of goods, the consumer was focused on service and collaboration to meet their changing lifestyle needs. 

 

These changing demands and collaborative relationship across consumer, retailer and the retail supply chain may be best demonstrated by the Amazon experience.  Amazon does a pretty amazing job of bringing together the cross functional relationship collaboration across tools, technology, consumers, retailer and the supply chain every day with a focus on change and improvements to deepen the consumer relationship.  In the same way that Amazon reshaped the bookseller retail market, it is also reshaping the entire retail market now.  I think Amazon is a great example of a twenty first century department store, or probably more appropriately, a twenty first century mall.

 

Consumers are developing cross functional relationships in the virtual retail environment to recreate the mall shopping experience in a virtual environment.  The retail extended supply chain is beginning to recognize this direction and is engaging with consumers to develop these relationships to improve the consumer experience and encourage retention and future engagement.  Many of these pieces and parts of the virtual environment were available previously and the growth and acceptance of mobile technology along with wireless capabilities have been the catalyst factors to cause consumers to embrace these capabilities.  This is just the beginning now though as consumers are now using these technologies to put together their own virtual shopping experience in conjunction with their friends and family.  Retailers must now embrace collaboration with both consumers and the extended supply chain in order to survive into the next wave of retail 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?


The new retail market being built by consumers on the tools and networks that have grown pervasive over the last two to three years is made up of a wide variety of participants and the capabilities of this new market continue to grow and expand.  Consumers are taking control of this market which is now sending the larger retailers into a re-evaluation of the methods and practices for interaction with the consumer.  Consumers are using the tools available to building a collaborative retail market that is cohesive and consistent across legacy channels.  Consumers are changing the retail market through their use and integration of tools, networks and technology.

 

Many large retailers are at a disadvantage in this new retail market due to their foundation of control based actions, focus on sales via channels that have a tendency to prohibit collaboration with the consumer.  While the large legacy retailers have been trying to maintain control of the market, consumers have focused on building their own market and capabilities to shop and purchase according to their desires and changing lifestyle.  The larger retailers have struggled for a long time to maintain their control of the market and now must struggle even more for a place in this new market.  This can be seen by the number and variety of both acquisitions and partnerships currently being developed by the large retailers to survive in this new market.

 

In the meantime, consumers continue to evolve and develop this new market based on their learnings, new availability of capabilities through new tools and mainly through collaborative relationships.  In fact, I think the next wave of the retail market is being created as a result of consumer collaborative relationships and embrace of the virtual marketplace.  This change is increasing in velocity as a result of the efforts of the millennial generation.  Millennials are leading the efforts in creating this new retail market to define and implement the new capabilities that are being embraced by the other consumers.  These changes are and new capabilities are encouraged and spread through consumer collaboration across a variety of social networks.

 

Social networks are providing the highway and the functionality to both advertise and then encourage adoption of new capabilities.  These changes in the social networks are in turn being driven by the need of social networks to develop income generating capabilities.  Consumer collaboration practices, especially as it relates to social networks, are the fuel that drive consumers forward to utilize and develop the tools that are creating and supporting the new retail market.  All of these cross functional relationships are coming together to help to shape the retail market to support the changing consumer lifestyles.

 

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 Retail Market

Posted by tbrouill Oct 21, 2016


Consumers are taking control of the retail market now through interactive shopping and purchasing practices in a way that is fundamentally changing the retail market and retailers must accept and embrace these changes.  Consumers do not look at retail as eCommerce, or omni channel, or brick and mortar, they look at it as simply retail and they are using the tools available to them to interact and engage in the retail market.  Consumers are using the tools to build a blend of virtual and physical markets that allow them to easily shift across tools and market channels to shop and then to purchase.  These changes and impacting all areas of the retail market in a manner that is picking up velocity and span as new tools across mobile and wireless technology are enabled.

 

Millennials are a large factor in these changes because of their comfort in technology and especially due to their comfort and proficiency in multi-player games.  The millennials are the leaders and the pioneers in driving these changes to the retail market and other consumer groups are quick to embrace the capabilities.  The changes driven by millennials are focused more on the virtual and social network aspect of technology capabilities because of their comfort with and within technology. Many of these changes are quickly dispersed across other consumer groups now because of the close proximity and interaction with millennials and other generations.  In other words, millennials are coming to the age where they are going out into careers where they interact with other consumer generations along with the regular interaction with and across family.

 

The blended virtual and physical retail markets are coming together to build a new retail market that incorporates aspects of these environments across all legacy market channels.  The large retailer must now embrace and incorporate these changes in order to remain successful in the future.   This will start as a very uncomfortable prospect for many of the larger retailers that are accustomed to control of their market and interaction with consumers.  Retailers must must now embrace collaboration across all partners and consumers in order to remain a viable and successful enterprise in the future.  With the current rate of change being embraced and driven by the consumer retailers cannot hope to control the interaction and relationship with their consumers. 

 

Consumers have taken control of the retail relationship and are using the tools available to collaborate with other consumers and third party service providers to support their demands and drive to redefine the retail market.  Consumers have also realized that they are now in control of their relationship with retailers and the manner in which they interact with retailers and they are using the tools to form a market that supports their own needs and lifestyle.  The new retail market is being developed by consumers now to support their lifestyle needs and retailers must realize and embrace these changes in order to survive 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 are bringing great changes to the retail market through their collaboration and integration of mobile and wireless technology into their shopping and purchasing practices.  The collaboration across consumers must spread to the retailers, manufacturers and the logistics partners that connect the retail market.  The impact of the changes demanded and driven by consumers can only be accepted and incorporated into the market through open collaboration.  Retailers can no longer control the market place in and must instead open their practices to collaboration with all partners in the extended supply chain, including the consumers.  Consumers are re-making the market based on their own needs and requirements and if retailers do not collaborate to meet these consumer demands, the consumers will simply collaborate with the partner that will meet their needs.

 

Retailers have been in control of the shopping and purchasing experience from the very beginning and this has allowed retailers to offer services and products according to their own best interests and benefits.  Periodically consumers revolt and bring forward their own demands causing a bit of a disruption.  Two examples of this is the entry of Amazon onto the market to sell books.  According to general retail beliefs this could never be a success and it was quite a surprise consumers embraced the concept and turned the book market on it’s ear, driving out many established book retailers.  The second example is the JC Penney sales marketing strategy to eliminate sales and focus on ‘always low prices’.  This fell flat because consumers have been conditioned to look for sales and when they are eliminated there is no draw for consumers. 

 

I believe that we are now entering into a similar consumer revolt that will dramatically impact retail sales and purchasing.  This is being driven by three consumer trends;

  1. The consumer embrace of technology and especially their whole hearted embrace of mobile technology and improved wireless capabilities.
  2. The changing consumer lifestyle that is changing the way consumers view common practices and methods.
  3. Consumer collaboration through social networking and development of virtual communities.

These three trends are driving changes into the retail market that will overturn the generally accepted retail practices and especially the control of the retailers on the market place.  Consumer collaboration will become the ‘killer app’ of these times. 

 

In order to understand you only need to look back to the beginning of Amazon and the impact on the book market, consumers embraced the ease of shopping, the technology improvements to shopping and also the consumer collaboration brought by Amazon through consumer reviews of books and products.  Technology advances are allowing consumers to expand their collaboration not only across and between consumers but also across and between retailers, suppliers and also the logistics providers and third party providers that connect the pieces.   

 

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

Connected Retail Market

Posted by tbrouill Oct 17, 2016


Consumers are beginning to change the retail market through their use of technology tools and wireless technology to better align with their changing lifestyles.  These same consumers are taking advantage of the changes that have already been put into play by retailers attempts to expand their offerings through the endless aisle strategy.  Manufacturers are now expanding their capabilities to interact directly with consumers as a result of the success of the endless aisles strategy and their extension of their supply chain directly to the consumer through parcel deliver.  Finally all of these retail segments and activities are being connected through Internet of Things and partner capabilities to connect the entire retail market.

 

As I mentioned, consumers are now utilizing the mobile and wireless technology advances in addition to the eCommerce and social networking technologies to remake the way they interact with the retail market and are reshaping the market to meet their changing needs.  These tools and technologies provide a connected retail marketplace that allows consumers to change their shopping practices and in turn these changes are changing the purchasing habits.  Consumers are no longer allowing large retailers to direct and shape their purchasing practices and are taking advantage of a connected retail market to allow them to shop and purchase based on their own rules. 

 

These changes spell a remaking of the retail market for a silo type of market to a fluid market that consumers change to meet their changing demands.  The key to this market is the consumer demands rather than the retailers offering.  Consumers are using technology to connect the partners and supporters of the retail market through mobile technology and third party tools such as email and text messaging and social networking tools.  Retailers and supply chain have been developing many of these pieces and now consumers are connecting these pieces to meet their own demands. 

 

Consumers are connecting functions and services across the entire supply chain from the supplier to the delivery of goods to the consumer.  These connections will allow the consumer to reshape the market at their pace and to meet their changing demands.  Consumers are using tools and the Internet of Things to support their own demands and this is in turn disrupting the retail market and the retailers in that market.  IN other words consumers are connecting and putting together new shopping and purchasing capabilities by connecting partners and activities in the retail market themselves rather than waiting for the retail market players to get around to supporting or not supporting the consumer desires.

 

Consumers are taking control of the retail market and retailers must develop a flexible means to interact and respond to these demands in order to remain successful.  These same demands of flexibility and connectivity must be supported across the entire supply chain and consumers are building this flexibility themselves with off the shelf tools rather than waiting for for the retail market to get around to offering these services. 

 

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?


As consumers expand usage of mobile and wireless technologies, there are more and more partners in the supply chain that are interacting directly with consumers.  These direct interactions are being supported and encouraged by changing capabilities and collaboration within the supply chain.  The supply chain is acting as the connector and the glue for the changing interaction between consumers and retail outlets.  Consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity and the capabilities of technology to develop a social shopping network that connects traditional brick and mortar retailers, pure play eCommerce retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers through supply chain connections and collaboration to deliver and new shopping and purchasing experience.

 

The line or between retail outlet and consumers is being eliminated now by direct consumer interaction between the traditional retail outlets, manufacturers and wholesalers.  Consumers are way ahead of traditional retailers now focusing on the shopping experience primarily and then the actual purchase is secondary.  While traditional retailers are still focused chiefly on the purchase, consumers are using wireless and mobile technology to support their shopping demands that then lead to a purchase.  The purchase is secondary for the consumer and they are using mobile and wireless technology to allow them to purchase from a wide range of outlets based on their needs. 

 

The supply chain fills the role of connector in this model by providing the means for consumers to quickly, simply and efficiently execute their purchase from any outlet.  Traditional retailers started this wave by partnering with manufacturers and wholesalers to develop an endless aisle strategy which provided a direct outlet for manufacturers and wholesalers to the consumer.  The manufacturers and wholesalers quickly realized the simplicity of connecting directly to the consumer and began to leverage the supply chain to market and sell directly to consumers.

 

The supply chain has changed to support these new connections to consumers and provide a means build new relationships and sales outlets directly with consumers.  Consumers are taking advantage of these new connections and capabilities to fill out and simply their shopping and purchasing activities.  Consumers are focusing on shopping any time and any place and the cross channel, platform and outlet purchasing capabilities supports these demands.  These changes and expansion in consumer shopping and collaboration will increase as technology progresses. 

 

These changes are beginning to have a dramatic impact on the retail marketplace and especially traditional brick and mortar retailers.  The changes are being driven by consumer’s incorporation of new capabilities in mobile and wireless technology.  Consumers are using these advances in technology to wrest control of their purchasing from retailers and we are beginning to see the result of these changes through impact to the the retailer sales.  These changes will only increase and retailers must change their strategy from control of sales to collaboration in shopping and simplification of purchasing.

 

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?


The retail extended supply chain has added a new wrinkle to the retail marketplace by becoming a new retail channel.  Retailers have incorporated their suppliers and extended supply chain into their market offering as part of an ‘endless aisle’ strategy. This strategy has created a new retail market channel for the suppliers and provides additional opportunities to for suppliers to develop relationships directly with the consumer.  Suppliers are gaining and developing an eCommerce strategy to interact directly with the consumers.  This new retail channel is beginning to have an impact on the supplier’s plans and focus of activity and spending. 

 

Suppliers have begun to realize that direct interaction between consumer and supplier provides a very profitable outlet for product sales.  I find this shift in interaction especially interesting because what started out as a method for retailers to offer a wide array of products to their customer has a very real potential to shift these sales from the retailer to the supplier.  This potential is now being actively pursued by many larger and forward looking suppliers and as these suppliers explore and expand into the direct to consumer interaction there will be a larger and larger impact on retailers themselves.  I see the expansion played out now in recruiting sites where more and more manufacturers are actively searching for eCommerce and web strategic leaders to expand their reach into the technology. 

 

Consumers are also willing and active participants in these expansions through web and mobile technology and as manufacturers expand their footprint into mobile technology consumers will only expand their interaction with the new provider.  Consumers have begun to blur the line between channels and also outlets as a type of strategic direction and it is imperative for retailers and suppliers to recognize and respond to this consumer strategy.

 

Retailers, and especially the large retailers, have in many cases obtained agreements from their suppliers to not engage in direct consumer sales in areas where the retailer has a presence.  This is a foolish and short sighted strategy and has back-fired time and time again for retailers.  The consumer is starting to take control of their shopping and purchasing through all of the outlets and especially through eCommerce and mobile based technology.  The consumer is exerting their own will in their shopping and purchasing practices and this is beginning to bring an upheaval to not only the retail market but also to the suppliers and supply chain that supports the consumer shopping and purchasing.

 

The supply chain in which the supplier plays a prominent role is now becoming a retail channel.  Consumers are driving and expanding these changes into the retail market and this means that retailers, suppliers and the carriers and coordinators that connect all the disparate parts of the chain must step up to meet the demands of the consumer.

 

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

Supply Chain Omni Market

Posted by tbrouill Oct 12, 2016


Retailers have been focused on an omni channel consumer purchasing strategy to support consumer purchases any time and any where within the retailer’s vertical market.  Consumers, on the other hand, are viewing retail from a different perspective based on shopping and not just purchasing.  Consumers now are expanding their viewpoint to include all retail interaction across all markets, in other words, consumers are now viewing retail from an omni market perspective.  Retailers can now gain in their own markets by extending their focus through collaboration with their extended supply chain partners.  Retailers can utilize their partners to expand their understanding of consumer demands across retail markets to support consumer demands in their own market.

 

The extended supply chain is the one area that interacts across all markets and can provide valuable information related to these markets to their retail partners.  This span of visibility provides the extended supply chain with a wealth of information consolidated from all markets that can provide valuable insight into the consumer demands regarding timing of purchase, purchase channel and also trending of sales and purchase channels.  The extended supply chain partners have an opportunity to collect and provide great background information to their retail partners. 

 

The challenge for the supply chain, and also their retailer partners, is starting to collect this information.  This has been a challenge for initial big data start-ups in any organizations and it can be even more difficult for the extended supply chain partners due to non-disclosure requirements of retailers with their supply chain partners.  For this reason the extended supply chain must collect the generic aspects of data such as product types and channel trends in order to avoid conflict with retailers.  Extended supply chain partners can provide data such as product types, parcel type shipments and parcel shipment priority.  They can also provide feedback from other supply chain partners that provide feedback on product type demand.  This type of data can provide important market trends across partners that will allow retailers to compare their own results to industry market trends.

 

This concept is obviously in the very early discovery stages and requires a great deal of analysis and discussion regarding how to implement and what to analyze.  There is an important first step though that can be started in advance of the analysis and that is collection.  The supply chain partners can begin to collect data now and then there will be historical data for analysis determined by the discovery and analysis that must be done.  The critical point though is to begin now because the consumer change and demand is only increasing in speed and will not wait while a group performs an extended analysis.

 

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?


The retail supply chain is going through the same types of upheaval as retail purchasing channels driven by changing demands of consumers.  The changes disrupting the retail marketplace are rippling out through the entire supply chain.  In addition, suppliers are also expanding to interact directly with consumers in ways that were not previously anticipated.  All of these consumer demands are converging and driving ripples of disruption throughout the retail supply chain.  Retail supply chain partners face the same challenges resulting from the velocity and discontinuous nature of the changing consumer demands that retailers have been experiencing.  The retail supply chain partners must now focus on an agile supply chain to meet these changing demands.

 

In addition to the changing consumer demands, the retail supply chain must deal with an almost overwhelming level of data and information that results from the consumer direct and indirect interactions with retail outlets.  The value of the extended interaction and connectivity with consumers and retail partners is the data that can be collected to analyze trends and plans while the challenge of the extended interaction is determining how to deal with the data that is collected.  Extended supply chain partners including and especially the suppliers are in a great position to gain value through data analysis due to the volume and variety of data that is available to the extended supply  from a variety of retail and direct consumer interaction.  This data is a critical factor and mechanism for the extended supply chain partners and especially the suppliers to understand, recognize and even focus disruption events and factors. 

 

Another challenge for the supply chain is to support variations on demands from all of their retail partners.  This brings another level of complication and requirements for increases the need to focus on agile capabilities rather than only lean capabilities to support this wide range of demands.  While this may be an intimidating prospect for supply chain partners that interact and support a range of retailers, it is also a great opportunity for these supply chain partners to increase their value to the chain by providing a means to measure cross market consumer practices and consumer demands.  This cross market, or omni market information can provide a means for retailers to potentially forecast and prepare for consumer changing consumer demands. 

 

This beginning of supply chain disruption will ripple across all markets increasing the level of disruption and also the importance of agility in meeting the changing demands for all partners across the supply chain.  This will be creating an omni market viewpoint of consumer demands across all retail markets from apparel to electronics to groceries and the cross market data that can be collected and provided for analysis by the extended supply chain partners will be invaluable to the retailers ability to identify and support the 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?


Consumers are using mobile apps and smartphone technology along with new shopping services to develop their own personal shopping portals.  They are then sharing these shopping portals with the friends and family to develop their own social shopping and purchasing networks that are not dependant on any specific retailer or technology.  Consumers are using their personal portals across tools and technology to shop any time and any place as their shopping needs and curiosity dictates.  This consumer portal allows consumers to develop their own virtual shopping mall based on social networking tools allowing them to expand and interact as much, or as little as they desire and all with mobile tools and third party apps.

 

The closest thing that I have seen to this concept that is being delivered and supported by a retailer is from Amazon.  Amazon is focused on the consumer experience and interaction that generates consumer retention.  Amazon’s strategy of providing a service or a tool and encouraging consumer adoption has paid off over and over again from the Prime service to the Fire Stick and Amazon Video and Amazon produced shows to the Echo.  These are all tools and services that simplify consumer daily activities and as a side benefit to Amazon encourage consumers to return over and over again.  While many retailers are focused on price and delivery, Amazon has long ago moved on to focus on consumer relationships and building a community that offers a wide range of services, products and tools to simplify and encourage the consumer’s interaction.  Amazon truly provides a portal of endless aisles of products and services.

 

Many retailers have also focused on an ‘endless aisles’ strategy of product offerings without a huge difference in their sales.  I really don’t think its the product selection that is a big deciding factor for consumer purchasing, I think that now consumers are looking for a social interaction and connection that gives them a reason to return.  I know that I have developed what I would call is a portal of apps and services that I reference all the time when shopping.  I’m looking for other versions of the product and product reviews and pricing or specials.  In many cases I will order from an eCommerce site because I don’t want to carry the product and I use Amazon Prime so the shipping is free.  I am not the most savvy shopper and so if I am developing my own version of a portal I would clearly expect others and especially millennials to be developing own versions of portals that combine product and special offer search engines with social networking tools to enhance and simplify their shopping.

 

Retailers are missing the point if they only focus on product offerings and ease of purchase.  The consumer has passed that priority and in fact have taken it for granted.  Retailers must now connect and collaborate with consumers in order to succeed in this new mobile world.

 

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?


Over the previous few years consumers have been trending to eCommerce purchasing during the holiday season and especially the Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick-off weekend.  I believe that this year will continue that trend in a much greater way and I also believe that retailers must begin now to prepare for this change.  This year may not be the year where eCommerce sales match brick and mortar sales however this year will show that eCommerce sales are poised to match brick and mortar sales and then over the next year or two eCommerce will surely overcome brick and mortar sales.  This is the next in a series of retail market upheavals that are driven by the changing consumer focus and the advances in mobile technology.

 

I think the upheaval this year will come from an increase in brick and mortar ‘window shopping’ coupled with an increase in eCommerce purchasing.  This is a continuation of last year where overall sales increased and brick and mortar sales were relatively flat.  The shift this year will be fueled again by mobile technology and social networking and third party shopping tools.  I have said previously that retailers and especially omni channel retailers must focus on social networking consumer interaction to build the consumer relationship and increase the retention on their eCommerce site.  Smart phone technology and consumer usage is continuously increasing and this increase in usage and capabilities brings with it an opportunity for consumers to shop virtually using social networking tools and third party mobile shopping tools to allow them to shop across locations and channels virtually. 

 

I think consumers will utilize these tools to improve their shopping experience and reduce the confusion in purchasing and also reduce their labor in purchasing.  Amazon has been continuously working to improve and simplify their shopping experience through technology such as the Echo and through services such as Prime.  I think that consumer usage of virtual purchasing services such as Prime are poised and ready to dramatically increase this year along with the increase in mobile shopping and purchasing.   It is just too easy to shop at the mall with friends and family to touch and try products and then purchase via mobile technology and sites such as Amazon and have the products delivered directly to your home at no cost.  Consumers would be foolish not to take advantage of these capabilities, and consumers are not foolish.

 

I think we are reaching, if we haven’t already reached, the tipping point where consumers shop and purchase across channels without concern about the channel or retailer loyalty.  Retailers are realizing that they cannot compete only on prices and hope to remain successful and they are focusing more and more on loyalty programs.  Retailers are missing a critical piece of the consumer relationship by only focusing on omni channel purchasing and loyalty programs and must begin to focus more on consumer collaboration and relationship development and management.  Retailers have only focused on the sales aspect of the relationship and consumers are now reacting to this through mobile technology and social networking and retailers must now focus on consumer relationships to maintain 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?


There has always a level of disruption in the retail marketplace and the difference over the years since the Internet boom in the late 1990’s is the speed of this disruption.  The speed of the disruption has reached the velocity now of a regular occurance of market upheaval and realignment every year or two at the most.  You can see with the annual year over year growth that the eCommerce channel of the marketplace combined with consumer acceptance has reached a level of escape velocity where this market has become a leading segment of the retail marketplace.  While the eCommerce channel may not have become the majority market channel by sails, it has definitely attained a major market channel as measured in disruption.

 

The combination of tools and consumer acceptance and embrace of the eCommerce tools and capabilities has reached critical mass now and these capabilities are now driving the retail marketplace and disrupting not only the brick and mortar channel but all channels.  Consumers have embraced mobile technology and mobile tools to change the way that they shop and interact on an every day basis with the retail marketplace.  These tools and technology have allowed imaginative and forward thinking retailers such as Amazon to disrupt the retail marketplace at a speed that is only increasing.  Retailers who previously cobled up competitors in a strategy to grow market share are not finding that they cannot adjust to the technology and consumer demands quickly enough to maintain their market share. 

 

Amazon is the easiest example now to see the disruption at work in the marketplace.  Amazon started with a focus on growing product line and sales volume at the expense of profit.  They then began to add technology tools and services to these offerings to simplify the purchase process and encourage the consumer to return and stay at the site.  Their focus is on consumer site retention through a broad offering of services and technology that not only simplify shopping but also simplify the consumer’s shopping process to provide the consumer with a balance while freeing time for activities the consumer enjoys.  Amazon has realized early that consumers driving force is simplification and the ability to free time to spend with family and friends.  This focus on free time is a direct response to the career forces that have been consuming more free time and result from the consumer drive to socialize. 

 

This consumer drive to spend quality time with family and friends is a key factor to the speed of consumer adoption of these disruptive technologies and tools.  Retailers must accept the concept that consumers are taking more control of their time and also manner in which they interact with the retailer.  The speed of disruption is increasing now as a result of consumer embrace of new technology and tools and this will only increase with the millennial generation demands on the retail marketplace and their careers.  The retailers that do not embrace this disruption will lose, no matter their share of the market.

 

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?


The omni channel and retail market in general are also disrupted by retailers via a combination of practices, products and consumer interest.  For instance the fashion apparel marketplace continues to be disrupted by fashion forward or fast fashion retailers and there is the classic example of the Amazon entrance into the book market.  Once upon a time a retailer could offer product at a fair price and fair customer service and the retailer could earn a solid return.  There have always been market disruptions that have really been driven by new retailers bursting onto the scene and offering a new service or a new combination of products.  You can see the progress, and the disruption, in looking back now and not realize the upheaval of the disruption at the time it occurred.

 

Throughout the ages of retail there have always been disruptions in the market that are driven by the combination of practices, products and consumer interest and I think the difference now is the rate of change driven by consumers and creative retailers themselves.  In the past, retailers have been known mainly for their products, or the size of their product mix, or their service offering but retailers were never really known as technology innovators.  With the Internet age this has changed though and now retailers must embrace technology innovation in order to weather the market disruption and in fact these market disruptions are driven by technology.  The age of the Internet has increased the velocity of change and disruptive retailers such as Amazon have embraced and driven market disruptions through their creative implementation of technology.

 

Disruptive retailers have a couple of key traits that allow them to disrupt the market; they view the market and technology creatively and they are willing to take a risk on new technology or services and accept failure.  The disrupters are leaders whose actions and leadership are driving the retail market forward while the remainder of the market at first fights the change and then accepts when they are forced and follow the market leaders two or three steps behind.  This turns into the issue now because of the velocity and level of change the leaders are driving into the market, so even when the followers are two or three steps behind they are having a problem maintaining due to the rate and velocity of change.

 

The issue is now the combination of the leaders disrupting the market with innovation and the speed of this disruption.  In fact I think of the disruption as the rate of change combined with the collaboration of retail leaders with consumers to define and implement consumer driven changes.

 

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?


All signs in the omni channel retail market lead to a realization that the omni channel and especially the retail market is going through a period of intense change and disruption.  The signs and the resulting disruption is quickening now with the consumer embrace of both social networking and mobile technology combined with the cultural changes being driven in part by the millennial generation along with the aging of the baby boomers.  This quickening and discontinuous nature of change is clashing directly with the institutional large retailer culture of thoughtful control of change in the retail market.  The combination of omni channel retail, social networking, mobile technology and consumer free time availability are driving this disruption and the retailer impact is intensifying.

 

The signs of this disruption can be seen through the market fallout resulting in retail failures along with retail successes based on the position and ability to react to changes and even drive changes to the market.  There is an increase in retailer failures in the area of forward fashion and also in the ‘historical’ retailers that show when taken in combination the result of these cultural and technological changes.  The retail fashion apparel market is now being driven by the millennial drive and passion for quickly changing fashions at a reasonable price and the fickle nature of this forward fashion market is a direct reflection of the interesting combination of impatience and practical drives of the millennial generation.  With the aging of the baby boomers and the resulting increase of the impact of the millennials I see this trend as increasing and spreading the disruption to other retail market segments such as home improvements.

 

You also see the signs of the disruption in the large department store and large chain retailers in the form of sales and market share loss.  These large retailers seem to have focused on a price war and market channel segmentation that has not kept pace with the desires of the consumer.  These large retailers have focused on tactical actions in an attempt to shore up sales and have missed the strategic actions that would bring success in the future.  As an example, instead of a long term focus on agility and ability to quickly react to changing consumer shopping and purchasing strategies these large retailers have focused on market channel and lowest price sales strategy. This has left them struggling to cope when the lowest price strategy cannot be maintained, you see that in the JC Penney failure when attempting to change their focus on providing special low sale pricing to a focus on ‘everyday low prices’.

 

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?