The collaborative marketplace, or what I am calling Commerce 2.0, is all about the impact of social networking as a type of shopping tool that is supported by mobile technology.  This mobile technology supports extended collaboration within and around the consumers’ omni channel retail purchasing.  This extended collaboration through the changing mobile technology is essentially about extending conversations and introductions.  Consumers desires and demands have essentially running at direct odds to the retailers’ desires and demands - consumers search for the social interaction and not the purchase and on the other hand, retailers’ search for a low cost purchase solution.  If the retailer would support the social interaction in addition to the purchase they would provide consumer with critical reason to return again and again to the retailer for purchases.

Consumers have accepted this difference because in the long run, a key factor to the consumer’s purchase in the eCommerce environment is also price.  Retailers have focused on the market channel of the purchase because research has shown that multi-channel customers, ones that purchase from more than one outlet, are much more valuable than any single change purchasing customer.  I think though that this has relied on the traditional shopping paradigm - consumers felt more comfortable seeing and touching the product themselves.  This has traditionally been a valid shopping trend, or paradigm, for a very long time. 

This paradigm is shifting again though based on two factors; the reduction in free time available for the consumer to go to look and touch the product; and the increase in capabilities of mobile technology combined including the expansion of the wireless network capabilities.  These factors are allowing the consumers to add the social aspect to their eCommerce shopping.  This added social aspect is the addition of the conversation and the introduction to the eCommerce shopping experience.  This added social aspect is changing the methods that consumers incorporate in their shopping practices and these improved social networking aspects supported and enhanced by mobile technology will change the way that consumers shop across market channels.

The addition of mobile technology and the wireless network capabilities combined allows the consumer to converse during the eCommerce shopping experience.  The ability to converse with other consumers, whether or not in real time during the eCommerce shopping experience actually reduces the need for consumers to touch the product and this in turn reduces the dependence of consumers on the brick and mortar retail channel. 

These capabilities are all being embraced by the consumer now because of acceptance that has been achieved by social networking over the years.  Mobile technology in combination with the availability of wireless networks has simply allowed the consumer to expand their social networking into more areas of their life.  Consumers now use the mobile technology capabilities as natural extension of the conversation while they are shopping.  Retailers would do well to recognize and support these extensions of the conversation to develop their positive shopping experience.

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?