Retailers must collaboration with their customers in order to maintain their success and sales in the new omni channel age of shopping and purchasing.  It is important for the retailers promote and support collaboration with consumers so the retailer can develop a bond or a connection between the retailer and the customer.  The retailers must provide a reason for the consumer to return to the eCommerce site and the brick and mortar store to shop and eventually purchase.  Consumer collaboration will allow the retailer to develop this bond by providing a means for the consumer to influence shopping and purchasing methods along with the product mix.  This type of collaboration creates an important bond between the retailer and the consumer that will provide the encouragement necessary for the consumer to return on a regular basis.

 

Advancements in technology and the consumer’s acceptance and embrace of this changing technology is in turn driving change into the retail market that cannot be ignored.  In addition, this change cannot be addressed through the implementation of cookie-cutter eCommerce solutions.  The consumers are driving a type of shopping and purchasing customization approach that they have also been driving into production development and manufacturing of products.  This type of customization cannot be understood or defined by consumer surveys, it can only be understood through the continuous give and take that is provided by an open collaboration between the retailer and the consumer.

 

Developing and building an open collaboration with the customer difficult and time consuming, it requires a great deal of patience to develop the type of collaborative relationship that will provide the type or long term benefits to maintain and grow the retail business.  This is kind of an oxymoron, I understand, to say that on the one hand the retailer must implement and robust and flexible technology framework that supports a quickening of the rate of change and then on the other hand you must be patient to develop the long term relationship with the customer.  Such is the relationship with the customer; they are searching for a connection with a retailer that allows them to participate in the retailer’s community and yet they are demanding changing to the shopping and purchasing capabilities based on the technology available to the consumer.  In other words, the increased rate of change in practices and technology will allow the retailer to build a long term relationship with their customers to support customer retention and sales growth.

 

Some customers will always shop based on price and some customers will shop based on their relationship with the retailer and the shopping environment and some customers will fluctuate between cost and relationship shopping.  The key to the success of the retailer in the future is to develop the shopping environment that provides convenience for a fair price and then build the relationship with the customer where the retailer becomes the first destination for their shopping.  

 

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?