The retail market is going through a major transformation causing disruption in the marketplace for the large legacy retailers in meeting new and changing consumer demands.  In the last year or so consumers have forced retailers to reevaluate their omnichannel strategies when consumers took control of their shopping and purchasing capabilities utilizing mobile technology and wireless network improvements.  In the past year or so market forces have come together as a result of these improved technologies, millennial growth and changing lifestyles to allow consumers to transform the manner in which they interact with retailers and these forces are, in turn, transforming the retailer market as a whole in ways that the large legacy retailers have not anticipated.  This transformation has caught the large retailers struggling to maintain their position and survive these changes.

 

In hindsight it is easy to look back and see the early stages of these changes from consumers window shopping in retail stores and purchasing online, throughout the steady growth of the eCommerce channel.  I think there were two recent factors that pushed the consumer transformation past the tipping point:

  1. The expansion and growth of mobile technologies and wireless networks.  This provided the foundational framework for transformation of the consumer shopping and purchasing experience into a true omni channel market.
  2. The growth of millennials in the market which also drove a greater comfort with technology, along with experience in the technology capabilities along with an expansion of social network integration with the shopping and purchasing experience.

These factors have allowed consumers to transform their shopping and purchasing in a manner that allows them to control the pace, the methods and the timing of shopping and purchasing to meet their lifestyles.

 

You can see the results of the consumer shopping transformation all around the retail market where large legacy retailers are expanding eCommerce capabilities while Amazon is expanding their brick and mortar presences.  The concept of anytime and anywhere and especially in conjunction with mobile technology and wireless network improvements is transforming the way consumers interact with retailers and this is then transforming the retail market in methods to meet the changing consumer demands. 

 

Amazon is still the category killer although Wal Mart has now taken an aggressive approach to embracing and extending their omnichannel capabilities through a series of acquisitions.  Due to the nature of the retail transformation and the driving factors of this transformation across so many levels and aspects of the market I do not think the retail market will ever stabilize.  In fact based on the the most recent year or two I really see the retail market having entered into a state of continuous fluid transformation that is defined and redefined continuously based on the demands, and probably most importantly the imagination, of consumers, retailers and the technology providers. 

 

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?