The eCommerce marketplace will be driven to quickening cycles of discontinuous change as the result of the quickening cycles of both consumer technology capabilities and shopping habits, or practices.  Another factor encouraging the cycles of discontinuous change is the social networking and resulting collaboration embraced more and more by consumers.  The human is a social being and has embraced the social networking and collaboration that is supported by technology.  Consumers as humans are quick to embrace social networking and collaboration through technology and they are encouraged more and more by the opportunities offered by third party sites for discounts and sales.


Business and retail business in particular has begun to incorporate social networking as a marketing tool for quite some time now.  However, many of these retailers are still far behind in their utilization of the capabilities.  I believe this is due, in large part, to the technical requirements and legacy technology frameworks utilized by many retailers.  This economic climate requires focus on cost and it can be very tough to justify large investments in technology.  It seems that the recession recovery is strengthening now though so retailers should take this as an opportunity to invest in their future.


The challenge with technology investments from a business perspective is the rate of change.  Frankly, its not unusual for leading edge technology to be replaced in just a few years.  This reality can hamper large investments in technology.  This is why the large technology investments are becoming a ‘legacy’ practice.  I believe the means to address the technology rate of change is through a continuous investment process that focuses on open platforms and component framework to allow tactical replacement of parts to support your strategic objectives.


The next requirement to maintaining a robust and continuously renewing eCommerce Collaboration framework is the utilization of standard tools, or the elimination of proprietary software.  In order to be successful you must come to understand that proprietary technology is not the differentiating factor that will make you successful.  Utilizing standardized and common technology tools will allow you to focus on content delivery, product offerings and delivery and finally engaging the customer. 


You success hinges on the offering and your engagement of the customer and not utilizing leading edge technology.  A focus on continuous investment and renewal of technology along with incorporating standard and open tools will allow you to focus on engaging the customer.  The successful retailers will be the ones that develop the personal relationship that engages their customer.  All the technology and tools should be incorporated to develop that relationship.

 

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 consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers 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?