Retailers have generally viewed the market from a retail purchase paradigm, in other words the vast majority of their focus has been on how the consumer makes a purchase.  You can see this in all aspects of the retail and omni channel market where every aspect of the experience is focused on completing the purchase.  This has been a very successful strategy for retailers in the past and you can see in the eCommerce market for the majority of retailers this same focus on the purchase.  I have been seeing a shift in the consumers purchase habits that has been brought about by technology as a beginning for consumers to focus on the shopping.  

In thinking about this I realize that we are not seeing shift in focus, instead wheat we are really seeing is the true nature of the consumers’ focus.  Consumers have always focused on shopping as the sport that leads to the sale, while retailers have been focused on the most critical aspect of from their perspective, the purchase.  You might think that brick and mortar retailers have always been focused on shopping, however I am now realizing that the focus is simply on the methods that lead to a sale.  This includes the placement of merchandise, the location of the store, the marketing of the merchandise.  What is missing though is the analysis of consumer reaction, retailers have measured consumer reaction through the purchase.

While many consumers, myself included, are focused on the purchase, there are a great deal of consumers that focus on the shopping first and the purchase as one of the benefits of shopping.  Shopping for many consumers is a social activity that may not end in a purchase.  The goal of shopping for many consumers is the social interaction.  Consumers have always been open to using technology to support their shopping and the most obvious example is the consumer window shopping, where the consumer goes to the store to view and touch and try the product but complete the purchase online.  Retailers fought this practice because it impacts their sales, or the purchase.  Consumers have evolved to new methods of integrating technology into their shopping. 

I see that we are coming to a tipping point where the technology supports the desires of the consumer in retail.  I do not think though that most retailers have changed their paradigm yet to a consumer shopping perspective.  Most retailers are still focused on the consumer purchase perspective and I'm afraid that there must be another fall out of large retail failures in order to understand the difference, and importance of the change.

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?