There are two objectives to developing a collaborative consumer feedback framework the first, and foremost, reason is to retention and the second is to provide a framework to collect information. Both of these objectives are probably equally important and valuable to the network.  If I were to choose one to start with though I would first focus on the retention objective because I believe that this objective is the most important to the long term success of the site.  Retention provides not only the reason to stay but also the reason to return and the reason to encourage others to explore and try the site. 


Consumers remain on a site when there are products that interest them or activities and function they feel provide value.  The products that interest will draw consumers in the first place and these are important but after the purchase there is no reason to stay.  In order to draw the consumer initially you must provide a selection of products that interests the consumer.  The next ingredient to retention is providing tools and suggestions to encourage the consumer to shop and put products together.  These shopping capabilities require a great deal of preparation, first to purchase products that compliment each other and second to broadcast these matching products to the consumer in a manner that encourages the purchase.  Then the third ingredient to retention is the reason to return.  The reason to return is a little more nebulous than the other reasons because the reason to return is made up of a mix of the ingredients that draw the consumer in the first place.


The reason to return is first driven by the product selection and ease of shopping, next the reason to return is driven by the publication of this information to previous shoppers along with potential shoppers.  You must continuously provide a stream of new consumers to the site to add to your customer base and also to replace customers that leave for whatever reason.  This addition of new customers cannot be the only focus though, you must provide reasons to return in addition to the products and cost.  The reason consumers return to a site or a store is because of the perceived value they acquire from the regular return.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking consumers return for price alone, that is a losing proposition.  The reason consumers return is the mix of products, services and habit.  Products provide the first attraction and then the combination of products and services encourage the return and then finally after the consumer builds a trust in the site the consumer develops the habit to return.  This habit is the most elusive and also the most valuable in the management and maintenance of the site and the practice.          

 

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?