A strategy describing the plan and the objectives to developing a successful collaboration partnership is very important and an important first step.  A part of the strategy must acknowledge the importance and plans for maintaining the interest of the participants in the collaborative partnership.  Strategy defines the plan to implement the partnerships and the partner interest must be maintained in order to achieve success over the long term.  Maintaining partner interest requires regular interaction and team building exercises to ensure the partnership does not die of entropy.  Every activity and strategy will go through periods of high interest and excitement along with periods of low interest that must be overcome in order to maintain the collaborative partnership and because everyone is not drawn or encouraged by the same interests it is important to maintain a dialog to encourage interest.

 

Interest in any activity can be a very fickle thing and collaboration with business partners and consumers is no different, in fact the consumer collaboration is probably a little more fickle because of the many personal and social factors involved.  Business partner collaboration interest may increase and decrease through cycles while remaining a relative constant because in many cases the collaboration activities and process are imbedded in business agreements and relationships.  In other words the business relationship is maintained through dependencies to perform activities or through profit incentives.  The interest and level of activity maintained by businesses is also influenced by personal interaction and the interest of the people involved and this level of interest can change when someone leaves or changes roles in any organization.  The business collaborative relationship, however, is not dependent on any person involved and when a person changes there is generally someone else that steps in and maintains the relationship. 

 

Interest in anything is highly dependent on personal interactions and relationships and these will go through cycles where there is high interest and then lower interests.  This is especially prevalent in the consumer and personal collaboration partnership.  Consumer interest is highly transactional and business must continuously reach out to the consumer to encourage interaction in order to maintain the interest and the collaborative partnership.  Consumers can extremely fickle and I recognize that in myself manifested in my interest in various mobile apps and even retailers, I find myself going through cycles of interest with retailers and generally that is brought about when I’m shopping for something specific, or when an something catches my interest through the retailer promotion whether, email, Facebook or television. 

 

I think the trick to maintaining interest for retailers, or any business that interacts and collaborates with the consumer, is to maintain a continuous level of contact with the consumer.  The contact shows a level of commitment to the relationship and let’s face it the consumer is always being courted by something for attention and if your business is not continuously in that mix of contacts  the consumer will quickly lose interest and drift away.

 

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?