I see collaboration as a key requirement for success in omni channel retailing, as I have previously stated, and this collaboration must include the customer. I have said that the success of omni channel retailers depends on their ability to implement a continuous improvement cycle of ‘Plan, Do, check, act (PDCA)’ that supports the speed and level of change driven into the omni channel retail environment. In order to achieve these objectives though, the retailer must embrace a collaborative improvement process that includes suppliers, their stores, customers and the operations (both fulfillment and business). This collaborative improvement process can achieve great results with the support and participation of the key partners.
This collaborative improvement process will take advantage of the omni channel framework along with the integration framework that I have previously discussed to support the integration of collaboration partners in a manner that encourages participation. The framework will support the participation by simplifying the requirements and eliminating the hurdles of participation. This will, however, require a method for consumers to participate and another method for business partners, suppliers and manufacturers to participate. There are many tools that can be utilized to support the collaboration of your professional and business partners. The difficulty will come with encouraging consumers to participate and providing a framework that simplifies the participation. For the sake of discussion the concept with which I start is a Google+ community, or a Facebook page, both of these will lay the framework of participation.
Another requirement to success is patience in building the relationships with consumers and participation in the collaboration partnerships. This is realistically the most difficult requirement to achieve because there will very likely be a long period of time involved before the consumer participation builds to take on a self-sustaining momentum. This is difficult because the retailer must be prepared to spend the time to provide content for a long period of time without a lot of feedback. This process is similar to building a following for a blog, in that it will take a while to achieve audience, or consumer, participation.
This is important because the consumer participation will provide the input to deliver the value to the retailer by providing the suggestions and input to services and products that are important to them. This consumer participation will help the retailer to customize offerings and services that meet the demands of the consumer. This will help the retailer to focus on the aspects that their customers desire rather than just providing the same functionality and services as everyone else.
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?