The retailer must take a long term view in order to meet the customer demands from shopping and purchasing. What I mean by this is that the retailer must be patient from a return on investment perspective. This perspective is against the grain of generally accepted practices that focus on the return of the next quarter. The shopping and purchasing practices of the consumer are undergoing fundamental and dramatic changes from even two years ago and these changes require a framework that allows for change and integration of new features and functionality. I have covered my views on these changes recently and feel it is important to discuss the hurdles involved in delivering and maintaining this rate of change.
It may seem as though I am speaking at odds when I say that the retailer must take a long term view in order to meet the changes that are demanded by the consumers. I don’t think that I am though because I am recommending that the long term view be focused on first developing a framework that will support the rate and volume of change as the long term view. The way to plan for a future of discontinuous and dramatic change is to implement a flexible framework that allows for quick changes. You cannot hope to accurate forecast the future of shopping and purchasing and quite frankly you should not try because it will only lead to gambles that do not pay off and set your business behind.
You can, and should, however plan for change and institutionalize this practice through development of a robust and flexible framework to support the safe and quick changes that come to the business. Every year markets present the most exciting new technologies and tools as a forecast of the changes to come to the marketplace, and every year better than half of these new technologies and tools end up cast away for many different reasons. You cannot hope to maintain a continuously and regularly successful business by betting on a tool, you can be successful though by betting on change and the ability to embrace the change.
We have learned that the only constant especially in eCommerce and especially consumer shopping and purchasing practices is change. Due to this fundamental assumption there is really only one way to deal with the level and rate of discontinuous change and that is through a robust and flexible integration and collaboration framework. This integration and collaboration framework must be architected and maintained to provide a simple means to add and remove functionality and applications to support the consumer demands while insulating the business and operations platforms from impact of the changes.
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?