The rate of discontinuous change driving retail markets and social networks now requires a much more flexible and collaborative approach to maintain pace and survive. This requires a continuous approach to monitoring and reacting to changing demands from all participants. Consumers have become a key factor in this new model of change and drive the collaborative approach to changing demands and this requires other players in the marketplace to embrace the adaptive collaboration approach to monitor, reach and adjust to the change. The days are gone when retailers and suppliers could control the rate and reaction to change, there are too many players in the market that are willing and anxious to adjust and support the changing demands of the marketplace.
As I look across the retail market I see the examples of success for players that engage and adapt to the changing demands of consumers and I also can see the examples of the players that either don’t understand the market is changing, or cannot adjust to the changing demands. This is causing a fallout of players in the market which seems to be currently focused on large legacy retailers struggling to adapt. This struggle could be the result of either size or culture and either factor can be extremely difficult to address. These large retailers seem to have been trying to fit the consumer demands into their existing model following the old adage that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Unfortunately, consumers have not been limited to the one tool and in fact are continuously expanding their tool selection.
It seems to me that the market has shifted to a more nimble and specialized approach that supports a continuous shopping practice rather than the previous shopping trip approach to wait to shop until there were enough demand to justify a trip to the mall. Large legacy retailers have invested heavily in a strategy of size and the market has shifted now to a strategy of continuous, pointed, shopping. Consumers are changing their shopping and purchasing practices through the embrace of adaptive collaboration in order to support their tumultuous changing lifestyles. Consumers are adapting and embracing tools and social networks at a breakneck pace to allow them to incorporate into their needs and then adjust to meet their changing lifestyle demands. From a retailer perspective, consumers have opened a Pandora’s box of tools and capabilities that is disrupting the market and retailers must adapt or die.
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?