The social and mobile technology changes that are driving new consumer shopping demands are driving discontinuous change demands in the retail and extended supply chain at an ever increasing rate.  You may not  need to incorporate every change at the first sign, however, you cannot afford ignore them completely.  This is where collaboration and your extended supply chain partners really must be embraced and developed into a robust partnership.  Your collaborative partners and especially your supply chain partners will be able to provide the support and the foundation required for you to meet the changing demands of the consumers.  Collaborative change allows you to meet the demands without shouldering the entire cost of the effort.

These new and changing demands of consumer shopping are not really focused on the retailer, they are focused on the entire shopping experience and as such requires the support and collaboration of all of the partners from the beginning to the end of your supply chain.  It is important that the retailer realize the scope of the demands and the requirements to support those demands.  Without the support and collaboration from all of the partners in the supply chain the retailer at the end of this chain will never be able to keep up with the volume and the velocity of the change. 

I see the single greatest impact of technology on retail to be the velocity of change that the technology supports and encourages.  Following closely behind that velocity is the availability and cost of the technology.  The cost has driven consumers to embrace the technology and the technology enourages the consumer to explore the capabilities.  This is what drives the velocity of change in the consumer shopping demands.  This may be the greatest change that retail has faced in a long time, this change has turned the table on retailers and shifted control of the relationship from the retailer to the consumer.  In the past while retailers strove to meet the consumer’s needs, those needs were generally defined by the retailer’s offerings.  What I mean by this is that in the past the retailer generally controlled the relationship with the consumer, now the new inexpensive technology available directly to the consumer has shifted the control of the relationship to the consumer.  

Consumers are now collaborating in their shopping practices and the retailer must collaborate with their partners in order to succeed in this new reality.  This is what I refer to when I reference collaborative change, the framework to collaborate with your partners to implement the changes necessary to meet consumer shopping demands.  Meeting the new consumer shopping demands requires that the retailer push the change further into their extended supply chain and in order to successfully drive this change requires the support and collaboration of the partners.

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 consumer's 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?