Mobile technology is changing both consumer collaboration capabilities and practices along with consumer shopping practices.  These changes progress in a discontinuous manner, in other words the changes start and stop, in a rapidly increasing cycle that is driven by many factors related to changing technology capabilities, changing mobile apps availability and changes in wireless network capabilities.  These changes are also driven by another unpredictable factor; peoples’ imagination and their curiosity.  This imagination and curiosity are the factors that will drive the retail industry crazy with trying to guess and keep up with the changes.


Consumers are joining groups, connecting to new acquaintances, using new apps almost on a daily basis and this is expanding and strengthening their collaboration web in ways that were not imagined previously.  The young are leading these changes with the curiosity and experimentation that develops and then socializes the capabilities to expand across the consumer network.  These new capabilities are also encouraging and supporting both new shopping methods and new outlets for shopping.  Take eBay or Overstock as examples of these types of changes in the past.  These endeavors provided an outlet for individuals and companies to sell the goods they no longer needed or wanted.  Entrepreneurs then expanded these concepts through curiosity and imagination into successful retail outlets.


It is easy to look in the past and identify the reason that concepts took off and became successful.  However predicting which concepts will be successful in the future is much more difficult, in fact look at how difficult it is to predict which concepts that are popular today will remain popular.  In order to remain successful in this environment businesses must first seek and identify trends early and then have the capability to react to these trends quickly.  A part of the reaction must include both embracing new trends and dropping practices as they are dropped by the consumer.


This consumer collaboration web is difficult to predict and it is constantly being driven by new technology capabilities that are marketed to consumers by technology retailers.  This makes for interesting developments when one sector of the retail market is driving capabilities impacting other retail market sectors.  The one unknown factor in this equation is the consumer imagination and curiosity. 


These factors and the quickening of change has all but destroyed the concept of ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’.  Consumers are driving the market now no matter what businesses may believe.  The market now is chasing these changes and must embrace a strategy that supports the ability to change with the changes driven by the consumer collaboration web.  The continuous improvement and continuous investment strategy is the best method to meet these requirements.

 

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?