A key objective for ECommerce sites and omni channel merchants must be flexibility of features and functionality to support interaction and collaboration with consumers at the consumers’ pace. This does not however alleviate the requirement for omni channel merchants to protect consumers’ personal information and especially credit card information. This creates an interesting challenge for omni channel merchants to provide consumers with the flexibility to shop along with the protection of Fort Knox for their personal information. To meet these objectives the eCommerce sites must be constantly modified and improved in order to keep up with the changing capabilities of both consumers and hackers.
In order to meet these objectives the omni channel merchants must implement a framework that can segregate and separate consumers’ credit information from shopping and collaboration functions. This framework should be based on open software standards in order to allow for continuous improvements and upgrades with the ability to define security gates to protect both consumer and merchant sensitive information. This is a difficult objective to achieve and maintain because of the security requirement on one side of side of the objective and the collaborative requirements on the other side. This is why it is important that the framework support secured network segregation.
Currently the majority of omni channel merchants focus on the sale side of the equation and the most advanced are in the process of supporting a sale from any channel any time. This is a great feature to allow the consumer the option to shop in a brick and mortar store and if they cannot find the color or size for example to complete the sale online. This functionality is currently offered or in development from market leaders. I think this functionality will very shortly be the price of admission for entry into the omni channel market.
This functionality is something I would refer to as Omni Channel Commerce 2.0. Looking at a timeline it has taken us quite some time to reach this level of commerce. The problem now is that this level of commerce is practically a lifetime behind the level of consumer collaboration that is currently generally accepted capabilities for consumers. This is causing a collision and conflicts between merchant capabilities and consumer desires and common practices.
Unfortunately for merchants, consumers will continue to push forward with new collaboration capabilities and these will conflict even more with merchant capabilities. The result of this will be the consumers putting collaboration tools together in new ways along with software developers providing new collaboration tools to mash up collaboration with shopping. The next version of omni channel commerce is currently being introduced and not by merchants. This is the reason why merchants must implement an open collaborative framework based on open standards to support their commerce platform.
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?