This holiday shopping season we are seeing the cracks in the walls of retailer control resulting from consumer demands and especially millennial demands and collaborative shopping practices. Consumers have expanded, again, their use of technology and eCommerce and especially mobile eCommerce to support their shopping in this holiday season. This holiday season has seen an increase in retail sales, however the increase continues the trends from last year and is coming more from eCommerce purchases this year than brick and mortar outlets. The most dramatic statistic though is the percentage of mobile sales at 53% as part of the eCommerce total sales. This indicates that my suggestions regarding the embrace of mobile technology and especially in purchases seems to be accurate.
All of these statistics when coupled with conversations of friends, family and acquaintances shows the quickening of the trends due to the acceptance and embrace of technology to simplify consumer purchasing and support their changing lifestyles. This acceptance has been helped, I think, a great deal by the maturing of millennials and their growth in sales percentage. Millennials are bringing their same embrace of technology and collaboration to their consumer practices and this is also now embraced by more of the consumer market to drive a major trend in retail sales. In other words, as millennials expand into the workforce and expanded direct interaction with other generations they are also demonstrating the benefits of their use of technology to support consumer lifestyle and deliver the changes that will simplify and support their demands.
In my conversations more than half of the people I have spoken to performed more than half of their shopping either online or via television, such as QVC or Home Shopping Network. The interesting thing in each of these conversations it the driving factors to changing shopping habits are;
- Ease and convenience of finding items. Over and over people explain that shopping online improves the ability to find the products and the simplicity of delivery directly to your home, or better yet shipped directly to the recipient when they are not local.
- Ease of finding a low cost version of the product. While I don’t think this is a very high priority in the purchase decision, I still hear over and over again - not only was it easier to find what I was looking for online but when I found what I was looking for it was a better price. This is interesting because many people said that the purchased the product from the same retailer and there were extra discounts offered to purchase online.
- Support of lifestyle demands. This is the most interesting in my opinion because in conversation it comes across as a secondary comment but in level of importance this probably has the greatest personal impact.
Retailers must now take these changing consumer demands and practices into account in order to modify both their sales and shopping practices along with their relationship with consumers.
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?