The collaborative marketplace is bringing about a new type of commerce, Commerce 2.0, where the consumer has a great deal of control over the actual marketplace and sales channel. This enhanced commerce platform focuses on the shopping experience and is being supported and encouraged by the mobile technologies and mobile network capacity available to the consumer for their shopping demands. These capabilities are crossing economic strata and in fact I think are the most prevalent in the middle class and even lower middle class strata. Anybody that is being pulled in many directions at once is a target for these enhanced shopping capabilities.
Unfortunately for the merchants, I see that consumers are in the process of moving away from the omni channel market and are moving towards a collaborative marketplace. The differences between the two practices is that omni channel focuses on the purchase across channels and the collaborative marketplace focuses on consumer shopping. Both end in a purchase and the difference is that consumers are integrating mobile technologies and services to support their shopping demands. Retailers must increase the velocity of their change or be left behind with each cycle of change embraced by the consumer.
Unfortunately, increasing the velocity of change can be very difficult for merchants because many of these merchants are still dealing with legacy supply chain systems and ERP systems that were used to support their brick and mortar stores. In this area consumers are also at an advantage because consumers have become accustomed to accommodating changing technologies. Consumers are at the advantage now because of the earlier changes to mobile technology that allows the consumer to focus on data rather than the application. We are in a throw away society and consumers have embraced this with their mobile technologies.
One way to view this is that consumers are focused on the process and supporting the process with tools. I see that consumers support the process changes with the mobile technologies that have come along to support these processes. Merchants on the other hand must focus on the cost (software license, development and support costs) of the challenge as a major factor and this focus has forced merchants to add new functionality to legacy applications. This ‘bolt on’ method of development has two results; the solution is more limited and less flexible. A key result of this method is that the base application becomes more complicated and harder to modify to support new requirements.
The velocity of changing is increasing in speed and this is especially true in the mobile technology arena. This increasing change will be allowing the consumers to extend their collaborative marketplace capabilities in a dramatic manner and these changes will continue to widen the gap of merchant capabilities they can support unless and until the merchants embrace a framework that supports the rate and type of 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?