We started with Facebook and that expanded into Google+ and Pinterest and Vining and You Tube and and LinkedIn and an explosion of most likely hundreds of other social and professional networking platforms that are coming to life and dying on a basis that is quickening as technology capabilities grow.  The glue, or the one thing that ties these together now is the expansion of the cloud technologies.  Cloud technologies provide the platform and framework for social networks to come into life and expand on an almost effortless basis.  The cloud is turning storage and the network into givens, or assumptions, rather than hurdles to growth.  This is one of the most important benefits provided by cloud technologies and it is also one of the greatest impacts to the social networking and retail landscape.

Cloud technologies have expanded the capabilities of social networking by providing one framework that both networks and people can connect for communication.  The cloud is another major enhancement in technology that I see as at least as important as broadband internet access.  Think about ancient history, fi you’re old enough, when you used to dial in for Internet access at 56 kbm, I know that when I first obtained high speed cable Internet access my reaction was that it turned the computer and the Internet into a usable tool that would be more powerful than TV.  Then came high speed wireless access and now you are able to maintain high speed Internet access any where and any time. 

Cloud technologies, storage and services on top of high speed Internet access has allowed the social networks to expand into use in every corner of your personal and professional lives.  Consumers have embraces these technologies now to drive their demands for shopping capabilities.  These demands are based on the imagination of the customer and the interaction across the social networks that is made possible by cloud technologies, storage and services.  Consumers are using these tools and capabilities as a very powerful tool to drive their demands of the retailers and the shopping environment and general practices.  The cloud and social networks have allowed consumers to turn the tables on retailers and take control of the shopping environment. 


Retailers are just now coming to the realization of the consumer capabilities and potential impact to the retail shopping experience.  Unfortunately for the retailers, they seem to have spent the previous few years fighting these trends and trying to maintain a control over the shopping experience within their store and eCommerce sites.  These same retailers are now beginning to realize the power of the consumer and the impact of their demands on their success.  This is where the retailers should embrace the technologies, storage and services that are provided by the cloud.  Retailers can no longer depend on their own proprietary software or shopping environments to shape the consumer shopping demands, they must realize and embrace this change in control that is being demanded by consumers in order to maintain their success.

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 consumer’s 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?