The process evaluation, determination and implementation process must change and increase the speed of delivery to support the changes driven by the technology and consumer demands. I previously spoke about a method to streamline the implementation process that will reduce the risk and the time and effort required to implement new functionality. The final piece of the improved delivery timeline is the evaluation and determination of process, methods and tools selection. In the past this process was long and involved to perform first the business requirements, then the tools selection and finally the implementation. The retail market and especially the omni channel framework supporting the retailer cannot afford to take the time to follow the generally accepted selection process. Instead they must follow an abbreviated selection process.
The retailer must follow a selection and evaluation process that embraces and institutionalizes the continuous improvement process of ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)’. This will support the need to implement new processes and capabilities incrementally, and also support the need to remove processes and functionality incrementally. The second point that supports the abbreviated selection process is the focus on trial implementations. In other words, a process of implementing pieces quickly to prototype and prove the value, with the flip side of the ability to remove pieces quickly if the assumptions do not come to fruition. This second point is the piece of the continuous improvement process that brings the greatest value to the omni channel framework and provides the practice with a means to quickly move on when a function or process does not work.
This ability to remove functions and processes is important in the omni channel framework because not all functions or technology provide the same value to all retailers. This is an important part of the success equation; the retailer must realize that what works for others may not work in their environment or customer base. The point is to meet their customer needs and demands and not force the customer to conform to the retailer practices. Retaiers succeed because of their product selection, availability and last but not least the shopping experience. This shopping environment and purchase experience carries over to the online experience and must be tailored to work with the retailer’s message and shopping experience. What works for Wal Mart will not work for Target.
I think that many retailers struggle with the online experience and focus on providing the same tools and capabilities as everyone else and this is a mistake. Retailers must understand their customer’s demands and then they must meet those demands. This is becoming more important with the expansion of mobile technology and mobile shopping and purchasing capabilities. This means that retailers must realize and embrace the mobile capabilities for enhancing the shopping experience and include mobile capabilities in their physical store shopping and purchasing capabilities. Retailers must also be prepared to quickly and efficiently incorporate new capabilities and just as quickly to drop capabilities that do not work. This is where the continuous improvement methodology and a streamlined implementation process will provide dramatic return on investment.
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?