In this fast paced world of eCommerce and mobile technology delivering instant gratification and driving a pace of discontinuous change that is tiring,  it may not make sense to say you must be patient in this environment.  In the case of building and maintaining a collaborative relationship with your retail customer, however, this is exactly the case.  I know that is sounds like you are at odds with the technology and capabilities to say have patience, but developing this relationship requires a great deal patience because of the fast paced technology and the experiences of the consumer.  The consumer is being driven and enticed in so many directions and by so many distractions that you must have patience to wait for the consumer to take the time to engage in the collaborative relationship. 

 

You must maintain your consumer collaborative environment with new content and also new offers and methods and opportunities for interaction with the consumer exactly because you will only have an instant to draw the consumer in and explore.  You will need to provide the encouragement for an extended period of time while you are building the following of consumers.  This will require posting and advertising fresh content and offers on your site to encourage the consumers to return, until it becomes a habit and the become a regular participant in the community.  Remember you are developing a community and it will take a while before the word spreads about the value of the community.  This is exactly why I say that you must have patience when developing this community.

 

This patience requires the investment to develop new content on a continuous basis.  By continuous basis, I mean that you must invest in the internal resources to prime the pump of the community with fresh content multiple times a day.  You must experiment with the type of content and the time periods when you post the content to determine the most opportune content and time of delivery.  This requires patience and experimentation to develop and deliver the content over a long period of time while your community grows to a critical mass and begins to create content without your continuous involvement. 

 

This consumer collaboration community is a bit of a good news / bad news story.  The bad news is that you cannot define a time period for how long you will need for the exclusive preparation and delivery of content and the good news is that you will come to a time when you will realize that there is a great deal more content and direct consumer engagement in your community than you are creating yourself.  You must have the patience to get through the period of the hyper level, and cycles, of support with content and offers to encourage the consumer to return and participate.  If you look at the strength of Amazon now it is easy to forget the start-up period where the Amazon site required a great deal of effort to promote and engage the consumer.  You must be prepared for your consumer collaborative environment to require a great deal of effort over a long period of time to provide a return on your investment.  This return on your investment though will fuel your success for a long period of time.

 

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?