In order for the consumer chain to succeed there must be a framework in place that stores the data and provides translation and forwarding capabilities to communicate and share the data as necessary across the entire consumer chain.  This data is focused on an individual retailer, or retail group, and as such it is logical that the retailer be responsible for the maintenance and support of the framework.  The framework provides the means to easily add new partners to the chain without impacting others and more importantly it allows the data flow to be focused on the individual partner requirements.  Most importantly this framework must be flexible and robust to support the changing requirements of the consumer chain.

 

This data and communication framework should be architected in a hub and spoke model to provide the greatest flexibility that incorporates a robust big data model to support the data mining needs of the consumer chain.  As with most big data initiatives the value of the architecture increases time goes by and the data grows.  The framework though will support the push and pull data demands of the entire consumer chain, from the suppliers to the end customer and as the data available grows, the value to the consumer chain will also grow in kind. 

 

This will require an investment in technology, however, the hardware costs are reasonable to start and with cloud based tools and technology it can grow as the need grows without significant investments.  This will also require an investment in knowledge and research capabilities, in other words people, to perform the type of analysis that brings value along with adding new partners and maintaining and expanding the communications along with sharing data with existing partners.  This can start simple with sharing of sales and forecasting information and then this forecasting and planning information will grow in accuracy and value as the data builds from the consumer interaction. 

 

This translation and forwarding hub and spoke framework will provide the basis for the consumer chain to grow and change as the demands of the consumer change.  It can and will provide an invaluable store of information that can be mined to understand shopping and product demands to be able to focus and support the positive aspects of retaining customers and also a steady growth of business.  This framework provides the means to increase the value of the partnerships across the entire consumer chain and this will provide a return to all of the partners in the consumer chain.   

 

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