Omni channel retail is a foundational framework that is the price of entry and must be viewed as what it is; a purchase capability.  The purchase is the end result of the consumer shopping activity and must be viewed as such.  The purchase is one of the tasks within the shopping process.  The shopping process is another story and must be taken as a whole process to fully support the consumer desires.  The shopping process model includes and describes a new shopping process that I call collaborative retail. 

The collaborative retail shopping process describes use of mobile technology to support the model.  The impact of collaborative retail on fulfillment is a game changer and must be taken into account for successful retailers in the future.  In fact I think that the retail fulfillment model must be thought of as consumer fulfillment to better describe the fulfillment process.  Consumer fulfillment can be described as the process to deliver the product to the consumer, this in other words in omni channel fulfillment.  In order to complete the consumer shopping process model you must include omni channel fulfillment.

Another activity within the collaborative retail shopping process is communications between both consumers and the merchant.  This is where mobile technology comes into the picture to support additional consumer capabilities such as consumer network recommendations.  This is also where the communication to the consumer from the merchant is starting to take shape and take advantage of new technologies such as beacons to communicate to the consumer.  Beacon technology truly is in its infancy where it currently is incorporated as a push technology to send information to the consumer to promote shopping.  I see the beacon technology as providing the means to open a two way conversation with the consumer.

This collaborative retail model provides the consumer with options to purchase.  This will turn the merchants’ model on end.  As an example this model turns the retail store into a showroom that the consumer uses for viewing, touching and trying products but the actual purchase may not be made in this showroom and the purchase may be with another merchant.  The merchants will improve the likelihood of consumer purchase through the two way communication with the consumer and the services that the merchant offers.

In the past, the process was viewed from the perspective of the merchant and described how the consumer purchase was fulfilled.  The collaborative retail model views the process from the perspective of the consumer and in this model the consumer purchase is an activity within that model.  This model viewpoint is being driven by mobile technology capabilities that are being embraced by the consumer.  The mobile technology is allowing the consumer to control the shopping process in a manner that was not previously possible and merchants must recognize this in order to be successful in the future.


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?