The consumer social community, or collaboration community, is constantly expanding and contracting in both members and participation of the members, just like any physical community. This community is also constantly changing, adding and eliminating collaboration practices and tools, which is also just like any physical community.  When I think about it your physical community where you live and raise a family is constantly expanding and contracting through moves and relocations of people from outside the community and people leaving the community.  In addition in you physical community people are constantly changing their tools, such as cars to get around, entertainment equipment, computing equipment along with the home maintenance tools such as power tools.


The virtual social communities show the same tendencies where people will join through request or invitation and people participating will use a variety of tools to participate in that community.  You have the technology and practice leaders in the virtual social communities just like you have trendsetters in your physical community.  The key difference in the virtual community is the velocity of these changes.  For instance, just when you become comfortable with Facebook, or Instagram, you are informed by a friend or teenager that all the cool people are using a new tool like Snapchat or Vine.  I know that many have already moved beyond Snapchat ages ago so please forgive my examples.


The practices and abilities to communicate and share change in the virtual community at least as quickly as the tools.  This is because of the curiosity of people and their strong tendency to try things, I refer to that as the ‘why not?’ practice, Why not use Snapchat as a virtual show and tell when shopping to ask for friends opinions of clothes or furniture or cars?  Why not use Pinterest as a virtual cookbook for new ideas and dishes?  Why not use Facebook as a fundraising tool?


This is why I choose to call the social community a collaboration community because it is a virtual laboratory of experimentation with tools and methods to use the tools.  This laboratory is currently being impacted in a huge way by mobile technology that brings the hardware to your pocket and supports new and exciting location based practices and methods for both commerce and collaboration.  Not only is this constantly changing but the velocity of change is quickening.  This provides a new challenge every day to the eCommerce market.  These new challenges require reaction and consumers demand the support of these practices.  This will require the retailers and marketers to increase flexibility and along with the flexibility they must embrace the cycle of change.  What I mean by this is that retailers must not become attached to any practice and must be ready to drop practices early in the change lifecycle.

 

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?