Mobile technologies and networks have turned the retail change model on its ear by wresting control of change along with the velocity of change from retailers, allowing consumers to take control. In my opinion, this is the greatest change in retail probably since eCommerce exploded on the market and brought us Amazon. In fact the introduction of eCommerce and especially the inception and growth of Amazon have been key factors in the change revolution. Change has always been a factor in consumer relationships and retail and in the past retailers and their partners have been able to control the change through their control of technology, process and the extended supply chain. These controls have allowed the largest retailers in the marketplace to exert a very wide and strong level of control on practices and capabilities and these legacy practices have been overridden through consumer embrace of mobile technologies and networks.
The mobile change model and technologies have been shaped and molded to support the consumer discontinuous change demands in shopping and purchasing without direct support from retailers themselves. This is truly a game changing model in the retail market that first must be recognized and embraced by retailers and their partners just as it has been recognized and embraced by consumers. Retailers now seem to be moving towards accepting this new model and are acquiring the tools to allow them to support this model. The greatest change though that must be embraced by retailers and their supply chain partners is the culture change required to break down silos and expand and enhance collaboration and most importantly engage partners and consumers across the market.
During this most recent holiday shopping season we are seeing the results of the of this mobile change model along with the changes implemented by retailers to react to and address the mobile changes. Retailers now encourage consumers to join their rewards program and then, most importantly, encourage them to access the retailers mobile web site when shopping in the stores to enhance their shopping experience. This is a dramatic step forward in the consumer shopping experience that utilizes mobile technology to allow consumers to interact with the retailer when shopping, whether in the store or not.
These practices are a great step forward for retailers and allow them to interact more personally with consumers and also allow them to focus attention on specific consumer demands and past purchases to personalize the shopping experience. Consumers are also pushing the envelope with retailers to expand the services and communications across channels in their drive to blend shopping and purchasing to address their specific needs and personalize based on their specific needs at the time. Retailers cannot stop now though, they have begun the journey with a strong first step but this is only the beginning and now retailers must continue and embrace the the change model in order to grow and maintain the relationship with consumers. Consumers will not accept less, and they will leave if the retailer does not continue to grow and change with them.
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?