The new shopping reality is having the greatest impact on the retail marketplace by redefining and expanding the concept of purchasing any time, anywhere.  The consumers shopping practices are being lead by millennial demands that are then embraced by other consumers through the expanded usage and capabilities of technology and especially mobile technology.  Retailers, and especially the large legacy retailers, are struggling now to understand and embrace this new social shopping reality that is more based on technology than physical outlets.  Retailers require more flexibility to sense and respond to these changing demands and unfortunately for them they must also struggle to fit these demands into their (the retailer) infrastructure and framework.

 

These changing consumer demands or, perhaps more appropriately changing shopping reality, require a great deal of imagination to determine how to meet and react to the demands.  It is unreasonable to expect these large legacy retailers to replace their existing infrastructure and physical outlets but it is absolutely a requirement for these retailers to evaluate the direction and the impact of the changes on their infrastructure and physical outlets to support the changing shopping reality.  I believe that these retailers are knocked off balance by the recent and dramatic changes in purchasing that is changing the marketplace and in their focus on survival they need to take into account and develop a strategy to embrace these changes to the consumer shopping reality. 

 

The challenge and frankly the surprising speed in these changes are driven by consumers and these consumers are not using technology capabilities to meet their changing lifestyle demands.  Consumers are no longer forced to mold their lifestyle demands to the retailer reality and are currently taking control of their shopping and purchasing by developing and utilizing technology to support their lifestyle.  I believe this change in consumer practices that have taken control of their shopping and purchasing have left many large legacy retailers in the lurch trying to react and determine a direction.  You see many different reactions to this from expanding eCommerce capabilities through internal growth or purchasing capabilities along with a re-evaluation of brick and mortar outlets to stabilize sales and reduce costs.  These same retailers though do not seem to be reaching out to the consumers to collaborate in supporting the consumer social shopping reality.

 

Retailers must develop the relationship with consumers in order to survive in the future to support the changing social shopping reality.  The retailers also must understand and embrace the new social shopping reality is continuously being designed and developed by consumers.  Retailers must change their practices to a partnership with consumers rather than directing the consumers shopping and purchasing.  There are too many choices and too many opportunities for consumers to shop with and purchase from and retailers must focus on relationship building which is at the heart of social shopping.

 

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?