The success of the consumer chain does not come overnight, even if it looks that way from the outside.  The success starts with the commitment from the retailer senior management to the goal and objective of developing a robust consumer chain.  I say this starts with the commitment from the retailer senior management because the bulk of the effort and investment, especially in time, will come from the retailer.  This is only fair because it is the retailer that will be realizing the greatest level of return.  After the retailer, the greatest benefits are derived by the consumer, and then it is probably a tie between the manufacturers and the transportation partners within the consumer chain.

 

Because of the nature,and the time horizon involved in the steady value returned to the retailer the commitment level must be great.  In order to maintain the level of commitment required the consumer chain development and build up must be structured and delivered in a manner that provides a series of benefits to provide and example and validation of the benefits that can be achieved as the consumer chain grows and gains momentum.  The consumer chain will gain momentum based on two objectives and benefits;

  1. The retention of the consumer on the site.  This is achieved through the encouragement and consumer value returned as a result of the consumer chain.  The retention of the consumer on the community must be the first objective because all value is derived from the retention and resulting increased sales achieved from the robust community.
  2. The growth and value derived from the data resulting in the retention of the consumer on the site. This is another important growth factor that will provide the basis to prove assumptions and the data to support analysis of product selection and purchasing patterns along with the analysis of consumer shopping patterns.

Both of these objectives require an investment in both labor and capital to support.  Fortunately, the capital investments can be done in increments when you utilize cloud technology for the architecture.  This strategy allows you to invest over time to support the growth and expansion of the architecture and not invest in architecture that will not be fully utilized for an undetermined period.

 

The cloud technology that supports the investment in technology based on usage is an important feature to the acceptance and commitment of your retail organization leadership.  The investment is based on the actual usage and growth rather than investment on a forecast that may not materialize in the forecasted time period.  This is not to say that I do not believe in the benefits and opportunities of the consumer chain, it is just the acceptance that the initial growth and acceptance period from the consumer can be hard to judge and initially requires a high level of labor to support and encourage the participation of the consumers in the community. 

 

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?