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2017


Retailers have revised their strategy to acquire or build tools that support omni channel environment that consumers are building and must now change their culture to one of consumer inclusion and engagement in order to plug into and participate in the consumer value network.  All of the tools and capabilities will not matter in the success of retailers going forward without a culture of consumer inclusion and engagement to hold these pieces together.  Retailers must become the consumer advocate and represent the consumer demands in the consumer value chain or consumer themselves will block them from participation.  The important thing to remember is that consumers are building the value chain using tools and technology easily available and these consumers do not require retailers to provide these capabilities, only to support these capabilities.

 

This is a big difference in retailer to consumer relationships and speaks to the consumers taking control of their shopping and purchasing.  In this current retail marketplace model, retailers must engage with consumers and provide reasons for the consumers to interact and shop with the retailer.  Consumers are no longer bound by geographic regions or retailers in order to meet their demands.  This is the fundamental challenge for retailers and also the fundamental reason for retailers to change their culture and relationships with consumers to one of inclusion and engagement.  Consumers desire a more personal relationship and direct communications and interaction with retailers when shopping.  This is a difficult challenge for the largest retailers because they have spent years ignoring customers and focusing on price and expanding footprints while consumers have been searching for a personalized experience and relationship with retailers. 

 

Retailers have left the personal relationship shopping to the smaller specialty boutiques or the very exclusive stores and small chains.  Consumers are using the technology and easily available to create a means to develop a virtual shopping experience that supports their desires to build and experience this personal shopping experience.  This shopping experience, or value network is now able to provide the personal experience through social networks and third party apps.  This allows the consumers to relegate retailers to the role of wholesalers or distributor of products competing against a global market. 

 

Retailers must focus on inclusion and engagement of consumers in order to increase their participation and importance in the consumer value chain for a service provider to a valued add partner providing services and support for the shopping experience rather than simply the role of a wholesale supplier.  This will be very difficult for many retailers because it requires a change in their business model to support and provide soft services rather than simply direction and supply of products.  Wal Mart and Macy’s have discovered this challenge first hand in their battle with Amazon.  These retailers are also beginning to turn their culture as well to recognize the importance and even strategic advantage to store real estate and the employees in the stores. 

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Consumer Value Network

Posted by tbrouill Dec 24, 2017


Consumers are now using the tools they have available, both technology and social networks, to build a value network that supports their needs and their lifestyles.  This value network requires input and integration to retailer networks and capabilities, however it is by no means controlled or directed by retailers and their retail network capabilities.  All partners within the consumer value network provide some type of support or capability required by consumers to support their needs at the time of execution.  These needs and demands change depending on the season and the lifestyle and especially the event the consumer may be involved with at the particular time of their search or interaction.  Consumers are no longer limited by seasonality, individual retailer availability, geographic location, channel or time of day because consumers are using the tools available to obscure these limitations.

 

This value network that consumers have built provides the means for consumers to control their interactions with retailers in a type of virtual mall concept.  Consumers are using technology, networks and third party apps to build a value network that is cloud based and can be used at any time and any place to augment and support their shopping and purchasing needs at the time.  This value network does not require any specific retailer input because the network is build on search capabilities and social network connectivity.  The value network though is the glue that holds the services together and it also the process that defines the usage and objectives.  The cloud based tools and mobile technology provide the tools then to support the process and the objectives.  As objectives change the process would change and then the tools can be realigned to support the changing objectives. 

 

Consumers have build a new model to interact with the retail market that does not depend on any one retailer to support their demands and objectives.  This new model does require that retailers recognize and adjust to the consumer value network in order to extend their relationships with consumers.  This means that retailers must first change their viewpoint and culture to accept the interaction demands from this value network and become an integral part of the value network.  This requires retailers to increase and expand engagement through this value network with the objective of increasing consumer collaboration to build and extend their relationships. 

 

The large retailers are now building new capabilities through a strategy of acquisition.  This strategy allows them to short circuit the time that would have been required to build these new capabilities.  The challenge though for these retailers is not the tools or the technology, they have shown that they can acquire these new tools, what they must do in order to integrate with the consumer value network is to change their culture to inclusion, engagement and collaboration with consumers.  This culture change is also the most difficult and requires focus and dedication to follow-through to ensure the culture becomes second nature. 

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Culture Of Disruption

Posted by tbrouill Dec 23, 2017


In order to support the current retail market disruption generated by continuously changing market demands retailers must themselves create a culture of disruption.  This culture of disruption must implement a practice and processes to support the change demanded by consumers as a means to address the  velocity and amount of change demanded by consumers.  Retailers must think in terms of the next market disruption to materialize and this view will allow the retailer and the extended supply chain partners to be prepared and as their own disruption skills increase even predict new disruptions.  This culture of disruption requires an extreme level of engagement and collaboration across the the market from consumer to retailer to supply chain partner, and even collaboration across retailers.

 

Competition and change are healthy activities in the marketplace and they drive the reactions and results to move the market forward to meet consumer demands.  The level and velocity of change now requires a high degree of engagement and collaboration across partners to reach and adjust to the velocity of change.  The interesting background to this level of engagement and collaboration is that while individual retailers are competing they are also integrated with many if not most of the same extended supply chain partners.  This creates a type of one-off collaboration across retailers that allow them to take advantage of the same support capabilities. 

 

For a long time retailers have been ignoring this reality and acting as if they are in control of their destiny, which has caused a great deal of friction in the market as a result of demands by these retailers to control integration and interface communications.  Consumers however have already moved past this retailer competition to create a marketplace that supports their lifestyle requirements using technology and social networks to bring this about.  Now it is time for retailers to realize and embrace these operational consistencies and increase their own engagement and collaboration across the extended supply change and by doing this enable their own culture of disruption.

 

The retail market has become a federation of extended supply chain partners, retailers and consumers where in reality the consumer and the extended supply chain are now taking leadership roles in reacting to the market disruption generated by changing consumer demands.  Retailers are now the face of the product to the consumer where all of the operational activities are supported by the extended supply chain.  Retailers can improve their ability to react to the disruption by embracing these changes in leadership roles and focus on the activities that make them different, the products, while engaging and collaborating with the extended supply chain to support supply and delivery demands.

 

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?

 


Technology tools improvements and development has dramatically impacted the supply chain to improve collaboration and efficiencies across the extended supply chain.  Technology is also impacting the consumer capabilities in much the same way, improving collaboration and efficiencies, to allow consumers to disrupt the market and reshape shopping and purchasing in a way that supports their lifestyles.  These technologies are disrupting the retail market because these technology capabilities have allowed consumers to take control of their shopping and purchasing capabilities.  The disruption occurs because consumers no longer must depend on the retailers to provide capabilities, the consumers are able to use the technologies available to them in order to build new capabilities independent of retailer capability or desire.

 

This shift in power from retailers and business to consumers will continue to drive significant disruption in the market and on retailers for the foreseeable future.  This is probably the greatest impact to the retail market in a lifetime.  Add to this the expansion of the global marketplace in the retail market and the relationships between consumer and retailers has been completely reshaped.  You can see the results of these changes in many activities and especially in the growth and power of eCommerce retailers in this environment.  Amazon has been disrupting the retail market since its inception and continues this disruption through expansion in the brick and mortar space to re-imagine the consumer shopping and purchasing experience.

 

You can see the results of this disruption across the market from the downfall of Sears to the significant investments in eCommerce by Wal Mart and other large national retailers.  These are initially attempts to chase trends by these retailers, however, in order to continue to survive and succeed these retailers must embrace the consumer technology and the resulting disruption as a factor to re-define their own businesses.  Omni channel retailing is now a requirement and has been redefined by consumers to require retailers to interact in all channels equally without regard to retailer capability.

 

The good news is that the major retailers seem to have recognized this disruption as a call to action and are quickly reacting to the changes through acquisition mainly.  The change though, and frankly the acid test, for these retailers is their ability to change the culture and at the same time integrating these new acquisitions into their culture to allow them to react to the disruption and create a cohesive capability model to support the change coming in the future.  These retailers are playing catch-up with Amazon, frankly, that has built and nurtured a culture of disruption from the inception.  This will be a difficult effort for large retailers that only time will tell if they can succeed.  Along the way I’m sure that there will be disruption and fallout of retailers that will change the perspective and the capabilities of the retail market.   

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Supply Chain Silos

Posted by tbrouill Dec 20, 2017


Supply chain partners have been in the forefront of breaking down silos of control and activities for quite some time bringing very productive results for quite some time.  Now these practices must be pushed across the entire extended supply supply chain to eliminate the friction caused by these silos.  The challenge for this though is overcoming the cultural silos of ownership, or command and control, within the partner cultures. Collaboration requires a release of command and control and an embrace of shared responsibility and shared benefits.  This release of the command and control culture and the resulting increase in the collaboration has the potential to bring about a great deal of benefits across the extended supply chain.

 

The challenge though is overcoming the cultural limitations within each of the organizations, I believe there is an overarching cultural baseline within organizations that assumes the collaboration and resulting shared control is great for the other guy but each company hesitates and refuses to release their controls.  This in itself is first a hesitation on collaboration and partnership and second a strain on the potential benefits that could be achieved with a shared, collaborative, responsibility.  Operationally it is not difficult to address the shared responsibility, however, culturally this is very difficult to put into place.

 

Unfortunately for the extended supply chain the end customers, especially in the retail market place are not waiting for the supply chain and the retailers to change their ways.  These end  customers are building their own collaborative practices and capabilities which in turn are driving and demanding change in the retail marketplace.  The customer practices are going to be driving the supply chain to react and change to support the demands.  Technology has provided the means for customers to build their own capabilities without the support of retailers and the supply chain.  Mobile technology has provided the tipping point in this effort and customers across the board are taking advantage of this in their demands.

 

There are no standard guidelines to enacting these types of changes and these are rather sweeping changes to the organizations, across the extended supply chain.  The point of the matter though is that these organizations must get started somewhere and this means that organizations must view this as a process that continues and not an activity that has an end date.  It's the starting point though that is difficult challenge to overcome and requires a change in viewpoint and most importantly the acceptance of a change in culture.  This is a critical point though because customers no longer have to wait for acceptance and with the global economy these customers can simply pick a supplier to meet their demands and leave the slow movers behind to fail.

 

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?

 


Extended supply chain and the changing markets require an expansion of collaboration across the supply chain in order to succeed.  In addition, though, in order to increase the collaboration there must also be an increase in the engagement of partners across the entire market.  There can be no increase in collaboration without an equal, or greater, increase in the the level of engagement across the entire market.  The good news is that most collaborative partners recognize this requirement and are taking the steps necessary to increase the engagement of partners.  Collaboration and engagement are flip sides of the same coin and the continuing changes and most importantly the increased velocity of these changes require an increase the engagement and collaboration across the market.

 

Changes require a means and a framework for the market to support a method to sense and respond to the changes in a manner and time frame that allows the partners and the market to respond and incorporate means to adjust.  While it is critical to encourage and increase engagement and collaboration across the market this framework to support the methods to sense the changes is the key to the success of the partners and their reaction to changes in the market.  The resulting improvements and increases in partner engagement and with the engagement improvements resulting increases in collaboration will carry the partners forward in their abilities to respond to changes in the market.

 

While engagement provides a foundation for collaboration, the supply chain provides a foundation and framework for engagement in the market.  The role of the supply chain is critical to the foundation and the framework to support increased engagement and collaboration in the market.  What we see in this market is a demand for improvements in the efficiencies and the increase in options in the supply chain to support changes in the market and these changes result in increase flexibility and capabilities in the surrounding markets.  Consumer demands cannot be supported without changes in the supply chain and changes in the supply chain cannot be supported without increased engagement and collaboration.

 

It is very good news that partners across the extended supply chain must focus on engagement and collaboration in order to meet the changing demands of the market.  This change in focus is required to help to push this realization and acceptance across all of the extended partners and the market.  Many partners in the extended supply chain have been struggling to react and respond to changes in their practices in a silo created by their partners that does not prioritize engagement.  These silos must be smashed now in order to fully address priorities and changes demanded by the market and especially by consumers in the market.  This change requires a control tower concept now to coordinate and encourage the required engagement to support the expanded level of collaboration.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Supply Chain Engagement

Posted by tbrouill Dec 17, 2017


Partners across the extended supply chain must increase collaboration and engagement across the marketplace and their partners whether manufacturers, suppliers, carriers, distribution or customer, all of these various partners require increased communication in order to meet the demands of the end customer.  In this expanding connected world collaboration and engagement are the price of admission, no matter the market or the practice, collaboration and engagement lubricate and increase the likelihood of success.  In fact the supply chain in many ways is leading in collaboration and engagement as a result of the varied partners across the extended supply chain.  The supply chain has been a leader in engagement and collaboration for a long, long, time as a result of the number of partners involved and broad distribution of partners and practices.

 

The supply chain provides leadership as result of the demands placed on the supply chain first to support a global economy and as a result to support increasing demands for efficiency improvements in the global market.  Now supply chain can provide leadership to their extended partners in expansion of collaboration and engagement.  Engagement is simple; you must pay attention to actions and activities and you must respond to these actions and activities.  Even though it may be a very simple concept it can be very difficult to successfully execute.  This is the challenge and this is where all the efforts and demands of a global supply chain really pay off. 

 

The supply chain has embraced the control tower concept to help with management of the interactions across the extended supply chain and now these same practices can be applied to encourage engagement and expand collaboration across the extended supply chain.  A smooth flow of communications and information is key to the acceptance and success of the supply chain collaboration and extended engagement across all partners in the extended supply chain and the control tower concept provides a framework and foundation that can support the quickly changing demands of the supply chain.

 

Fortunately, the supply chain is the best option to  build an engaged and collaborative market.  The sooner the marketplace understands that there are no single participants that control the extended relationships, the sooner the marketplace can build an engaged marketplace built on the foundation of the extended supply chain.  The control tower concept and tools must be implemented across the extended supply chain in order to ensure a robust framework is implemented to support the continuously changing marketplace.  The first step is for the marketplace participants to recognize and accept the challenge to develop the tools and framework to support the necessary engagement and collaboration.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Retail Change Model

Posted by tbrouill Dec 14, 2017


Retailers must develop a new model that both supports and encourages change from the consumer in order to build a long term relationship with consumers that will drive retail success. The model must be built on a flexible foundation that supports the continuously changing consumer demands.  The retailer must recognize and accept the new retail environment in which consumers control the shopping and purchasing across retailers.  In this model retailers must engage consumers and develop a collaborative relationship with consumers that encourages theses consumers to return.  Retailers must develop a relationship with consumers that provides give and take and a reason for consumers to return.  This relationship, virtual and physical, is the key to the success of retailers.

 

There can be no turning back now and the response of the large retailers must not shrink to eliminate bandwidth and cost, they must change the model in order to embrace and encourage the change.  These large retailers must use every tool to connect with consumers at every opportunity including location based contact, activity based and search based.  Consumers have broken the mold in retail shopping and purchasing by embracing technology, wireless networks, social networks and specialized shopping mobile apps and the large retailers must take their place as a major player in these tools to re-engage with consumers to encourage their shopping and purchasing. 

 

Generally speaking retailers have been slow to embrace change and new technology, it’s really in the large retailer DNA to move slowly into new technology.  Amazon and mobile technology have smashed that practice and now these retailers that in the past were able to control the market have found themselves struggling to maintain and keep up with the demands.  This requires a robust change model to sense and respond to the demands and collaborate with consumers to implement the changes.  This change model must be built on a foundation of flexibility and stability in order to support the increasing change demands.  Retailers must invest in the technology required to support this model and most importantly these retailers must change their culture to consumer inclusion and collaboration in order to implement this continuous improvement model.

 

It has taken a long time for the large retailers to reach the point where their actions no longer support the consumer demands and unfortunately these retailers will need a sustained focus and effort to define and implement the type of change model that will support the changing consumer market demands.  I have seen in this holiday shopping season a change in the major retailers to improve their relationship with consumers and meet consumer demands.  Retailers are moving from email blasts and FaceBook sites to engaging consumers through robust web sites that react to consumer locations and support consumer shopping needs, in the store or at home.  I am encouraged by these changes and hope these retailers have the stamina and support to sustain these changes and realize the potential benefits.

 

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?

 


Retailers are encountering significant challenges to their business model driven by consumer changing demands and retailers must accept the new reality that they (the retailers) are no longer in control of the consumer shopping and purchasing practices.  This new reality requires a serious evaluation of the consumer demands against the current retailer capabilities to define and prioritize initiatives to meet the changing new reality.  This is where inventory planning and forecasting should take a very high priority in the sequence of strategic initiatives.  Inventory planning and forecasting provides the bedrock foundation for retailers to meet the consumer challenges in a flexible and robust manner that meets the changing consumer demands and also, and equally important, provides a strategic direction for retailers to redesign and implement a delivery network that also supports the changing consumer demands.

 

Consumers are increasing demands on shopping and purchasing in an omni channel market where retailers support the ability to shop in one channel and purchase in another channel.  This foundational demand of consumers can be difficult if retailers do not change their view of both inventory and sales forecasting and planning practices to embrace this omnipresent view of inventory and sales.  This change is the foundation to build the retailer sales and delivery network and while it changes the business process dramatically it also simplifies this business process by treating the channel as a outlet rather than a separate business process.  This change allows retailers to view their inventory planning and forecasting procedures from a channel demand to a brand demand and this both simplifies and improves efficiencies of inventory consumption.

 

Retailers should first define the business process in the basic functional view without regard to the channel and then each channel outlet must be defined as a method to access the process and not a process based on the outlet.  This is not an easy task and requires a foundational redesign of the retail interaction with consumers.  This is critical however to meet the velocity and volume of change in the retail market driven now by consumers. 

 

Retailers can then use this change in their inventory model to drive changes into their brick and mortar store strategy to support the changing consumer demands for omni channel shopping and purchasing.  These retailers will be able to use the foundational inventory planning and forecasting redesign as a base for building a flexible and robust retail business model that supports the continuous change that is demanded by the consumer.  Retailers must build a model that supports and encourages change from the consumer to build the long term relationship with consumers that will drive their success.  There can be no turning back now and the response of the large retailers must not shrink to eliminate bandwidth, they must change the model in order to embrace and encourage the change.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Omni Channel Purchase

Posted by tbrouill Dec 10, 2017


The omni channel purchase process is probably the critical link in the consumer relationship battle that is being fought by the large legacy retailers for the favor of consumer shopping and purchasing.  The convenience of true omni channel purchasing cannot be beat and this is also the most difficult aspect for the large legacy retailers to deliver.  Consumers now demand cohesive offers and support across the retail fulfillment channels to meet their needs at the time of the purchase, these are truly opportunistic shopping and purchasing activities that must be met at a moment’s notice in a manner that supports the consumer need at the time of decision.  This includes all of the input consumers receive from their mobile devices as they are shopping whether online or in a store.  The mobile input to shopping decisions is a continuous stream of comparisons and suggestions when the consumer allows location based communications.

 

I know that in my shopping and purchasing practices that I am drawn to the opportunity at the time I am shopping and based on input from all channels, in other words I am continuously reviewing cross-channel options for purchasing and utilizing the retail store as a showroom for my shopping and decision finalization.  Millennials are even more technically aware and plugged into the opportunities available through mobile and wireless technologies.  This is not however an age bias because seniors are also highly capable from a technology basis and even more drawn to the simplicity and opportunities to eliminate trips and lugging purchases available via the online channel. 

 

This is a cultural as well as a technology challenge for the large legacy retailers to overcome because traditionally these retailers have traditionally focused on the brick and mortar store channel to draw customers and the size of the chain to drive cost savings from their size to provide volume discounts that are then passed to consumers.  The technology challenge is the changes required to support the true omni channel requirements, beginning with the inventory challenge and finishing with the purchase.   The challenge really starts with the assignment of the sale to the channel and this first hurdle really slowed the large retailer acceptance and also ability to take advantage of the opportunities.

 

These retailers must look at the purchase supporting across channels and the shopping supports the purchase.  There will be some products that lend themselves to the physical shopping environment and some that lend themselves to the online shopping environment.  Retailers must embrace these differences and not limit the purchase to the channel where the shopping is executed.  This seems to be the continuous major challenge for large legacy retailers and this challenge seems to be related to the culture of the brick and mortar vs online shopping practices.  This is the change required to support a true omni channel purchase and when this is embraced by these retailers they will be able to then focus on the advantages that a large network of stores and warehouses present to supporting consumer demands.

 

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?

 


The changes in the retail market are just as much a consumer reaction to their frustrations with brick and mortar shopping as they are embrace of new technologies.  Consumers have reacted to their frustrations with shopping and purchasing by building their own virtual retail market where they can shop and purchase while interacting with friends and family in a virtual shopping experience that allows them to meet their lifestyle needs efficiently and effectively.  Amazon and other eCommerce retailers have taken advantage of these frustrations to expand their reach and disrupt the retail market as a result.  Some retailers have realized their challenge and are now scrambling to react and adjust to the new and changing consumer demands with some success.

 

Amazon is a great example of a retailer that has recognized the frustration and provides a robust alternative that embraces consumer choice and collaboration.  Amazon has made the online shopping experience personal and has focused on developing the relationship with consumers to develop a bond and expectation of value for the consumer.  Amazon has been able to create a two way conversation with the consumer that legacy brick and mortar retailers have be eliminating for years and this is the secret sauce for Amazon and other online retailers. 

 

Small local retailers have not really suffered during this disruption and I believe this is because these small local retailers focus on the relationship with the consumer, they personalize the experience and consumers react positively.  Contrast this to the large legacy retailers of a pure focus on price without the personal consumer relationship and you can see that consumer reaction to leave in droves for the eCommerce marketplace where price is a competitive advantage.

 

Large retailers must change their focus to improving the shopping experience and giving consumers a reason to come to the store again.  These retailers cannot change traffic jams but they can change parking challenges through a focus on experience getting to the store as an example.  Large retailers have spent years focused on cost reductions in the store and this has resulted in reducing the attraction for consumers to go to the store.  Large retailers must now focus on the omni channel shopping and purchasing capabilities in the store and the consumer experience when in the store.  In my opinion, these retailers should reduce the square footage of product display in the store, increase the space for product backroom storage to support direct to consumer shipping to support the omni channel shopping and purchasing demands of the consumer. 

 

The last addition for these large retailers is to produce product events in the store as a means to attract the consumer to spend more time in the store.  When I was young we used to go to the mall and the large retailers for the entertainment just as much as the purchase.  As a result of the product demos and other entertainment options people spent more time in these stores and purchased more.  Omni channel shopping and purchasing allow the retailer to redirect their spending into areas in the store that will produce greater value and greater sales.  

 

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?

 


This year I believe the consumer has reached a turning point with brick and mortar retail shopping due to the level of frustration generated and not just when shopping but the whole experience from driving to the shopping center, finding parking, and then the struggles in the store to find the right product.  This is not to say that the retail store is dead, it is just beginning to share the spotlight now with eCommerce online shopping and the opportunities for omni channel shopping that this brings to the consumer.  We are still in the early stages of the omni channel shopping and purchasing transformation and there are still many reasons for consumers to go to a brick and mortar store for some purchases.  These reasons are changing now though and these changes are steadily increasing in momentum to  change the brick and mortar requirements and experience.

 

Consumers are viewing their total shopping experience now which includes their experience in getting to the store, parking, finding the appropriate product in the store and then finding a clerk to wait in line and purchase the product.  Then after all of that fun, they must carry the product back to the car, navigate through parking lots and then roads to home.  This becomes in many cases a day trip to complete and I for one am not especially fond of the thought of these hurdles to shopping, especially when you can complete your shopping online, at least for most products, in a fraction of the time and the hassles!  There are still reasons to go to a brick and mortar store for specialized products for instance however these reasons are also continuously decreasing as the online shopping and purchasing opportunities increase.

 

The next frontier for omni channel retail is the realization of the consumer frustration with brick and mortar shopping and a concerted effort across all participants to change the physical retail marketplace into an entertainment experience.  Consumers are investing a great deal of time and effort in their physical shopping activities with a great deal of frustration and this encourages these consumers to forsake the physical shopping experience in greater numbers.  Retailers must collaborate together and along with real estate developers and entertainment venues to redefine the experience into one that delivers on positive experience and encourages consumers to return and spend time.

 

Brick and mortar retailers must take this consumer shift in shopping and purchasing as feedback on the brick and mortar experience and a reaction to the frustration with the physical shopping experience.  They must change their shopping and purchasing viewpoint to support a true omni channel marketplace by redefining their stores and then they must redefine the physical shopping experience by redefining the physical shopping centers.  This is not just a retailer issue any more it is also a real estate issue and an employment issue that must be addressed and resolved.

 

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?

 


The recent changes in consumer shopping habits are more than anything an improvement in consumer efficiencies to shop and purchase.  These changes embraced by consumers more than anything show the overwhelming desire for consumers to spend less time in the physical shopping activities and complete their purchasing more efficiently and more cost effectively.  The retail omni channel shopping and purchasing changes are at a very basic level a search by consumers to increase shopping efficiencies in support of their lifestyle demands.  Consumers require efficiencies in their shopping so they can spend more time on activities that give them pleasure and the opportunity to spend more time with their family.  Retail shopping in the brick and mortar store is not an opportunity for families to spend time together, it is a necessary activity for families to support other more enjoyable family activities.

 

These consumer objectives have been at odds with the retailer objectives for quite some time and only changed when the technology and wireless capabilities available to consumers approved to a point where these consumers could create their own marketplace for shopping and purchasing that meet their needs.  These capabilities frankly caught many retailers by surprise because the retailers were so intent on their own requirements and unfortunately for these retailers they did not follow the consumer changes to their logical ends.  In fact this process of consumer changes has not ended, it is going to continue and the rate and velocity of these changes will increase. 

 

Retailers are now beginning to realize these demands will not stop and will not slow down and are beginning to take measures to address.  These retailers are now taking steps to address these demands and as a result improve their relationship with consumers.  I have seen the changes in my interactions with many retailers this holiday shopping season in my interactions with retailers and also via news reports of retailer modifications to shopping and purchasing capabilities.  Another area this year showing real improvements has been in transportation and parcel shipping direct to consumers.  Parcel carriers are also taking important steps to improve both their capabilities and interactions with consumers in delivery coordination and notification.

 

I personally noticed a big difference this year in the manner and options to shop and purchase Christmas gifts and these new virtual shopping and purchasing capabilities have produced a greatly reduced stress level in shopping.  In fact when I shop in stores now I really notice the impact on my personal time and frustration.  This encourages me to focus more on eCommerce shopping and also in my limited brick and mortar shopping I have a tendency to focus on retailers that blend their virtual and physical shopping experience to simplify the purchase.

 

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?

 


One of the benefits that can be realized in the omni channel retail market is improved efficiencies in fulfillment, both to the end customer and also the brick and mortar stores.  This was not one of the original objectives or probably even one of the original potential opportunity identified by retailers however the changing consumer demands in developing and omni channel marketplace provided this opportunity for retailers to flatten and standardize their fulfillment practices across channels to gain dramatic efficiencies.  These efficiencies will provide long term improvements in both the fulfillment costs and delivery efficiencies due to the expansion of fulfillment across the entire retail network of brick and mortar stores, distribution centers and supplier drop ship programs.

 

Retailers must take a broad view of options and opportunities in order to increase the fulfillment efficiencies and increase both services and savings.  Retailers must view the fulfillment demands not only across channels but also across delivery demands.  This requires a paradigm shift in how retail stores and distribution centers are viewed in the omni channel marketplace.  The fulfillment demands and comparisons between store replenishment and customer direct delivery are converging and this means that retailers must view the fulfillment not from a channel but from the process required to support the business and consumer fulfillment demands. 

 

The fulfillment demands require that retailers expand the functionality supported in brick and mortar stores to include direct to consumer fulfillment.  The fulfillment demands require that retailers finally revise their inventory view and management practices to support sales across all delivery methods from one pool of inventory.  Retailers can greatly improve their delivery service levels and transportation costs by expanding capabilities in the stores to include direct to consumer shipments from the store.  This simple practice will reduce overall transportation costs and service levels because the spectrum of zone one deliveries will expand as well to reduce the overall transportation costs.

 

These are not difficult changes, in fact these changes should be accepted and a recognition of the new reality that consumers are creating to support their own lifestyles.  Retailers now must view and identify methods to support consumer demands rather than attempting to bend consumers to the processes and methods that simplify the retailer’s practices.  Consumers will no longer accept limitations from retailers because there are too many options and competitors vying for sales.  Large retailers must change their fulfillment methods to meet these demands and the resulting changes can be implemented to improve both inventory management  and also improve fulfillment efficiencies and costs.  

 

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?

 


Mobile technology integration and consumer collaboration has become a very large piece of the retail toolset and because of this increase in utilization and importance it is very important for retailers to develop a robust business continuity plan to recover in the event of an event that compromises these capabilities.  It is only a matter of time before an event impacts the access or the historical archives developed by the mobile business practices and retailers must be prepared for the loss of functionality, loss of data and recovery requirements.  The retailer must include in their business continuity planning and reviews a critical section for recovery of the mobile business practices, even though in many cases these processes are support via cloud based technology. 

 

In most cases I believe that mobile technology is utilized as a portal or interface to the corporate data, in other words the mobile technology provides access to business processes supported behind the retailers firewall.  However I also believe that more and more retailers utilize cloud technologies and data stores to support the mobile and eCommerce solutions, especially as it related to social networking and interaction with the consumer.  These are the areas of concern and must be reviewed on a regular basis to identify potential points of failure and recovery procedures.  These recovery procedures become much more complex because of the interaction with external partners and service providers. 

 

Supply chain partners and service provider collaboration and especially the mobile collaboration activities must also be evaluated for points of failures and business recovery procedures.  The recovery procedures and timeframes become much more complicated as the technology platforms and the number of partners increase because of the complexity inherent in the interactions and dependencies on business processes with partners.  The interaction between partners and the expectation of data and process availability will provide the greatest risk to any partner business continuity and these interactions and dependencies must be reviewed on a regular basis to confirm recovery procedures.

 

The retail marketplace is a fast paced environment with a very high rate of change across many platforms and partners.  This environment increases the complexity of the business relationships and also the complexity of the business continuity planning and implementation.  It is very easy in this type of environment for retailers to overlook the need to account for the business continuity requirements as they are reacting to the consumer’s changing demands.  This is the most important reason though to account for business continuity planning because when there is an event that requires quick response to recover the retailer cannot afford to lose hours or days in recovery, especially during a busy holiday season.  

 

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?