There are many outside factors that will influence your consumer chain, from seasonal changes, to customer demands, to technology, to regulatory.  There are even more outside influences that must be taken into account for large national and international retailers.  All of these influences can affect your consumer chain in many different ways and throughout all of these your consumer chain can and must provide a transition through the influence and even evolve to support the permanent influences.  The two greatest influences on your consumer chain are probably consumer demands and then technology.  Both of these influences will drive evolutionary changes in your consumer chain and if the influences from these areas are not addressed they will also cause your consumer chain to lose effectiveness.


Technology is closely related to consumer demands and in many cases will drive the consumer demands on your community resulting in demands on your consumer chain.  Technology capabilities are quickening and consumers have already embraced the capabilities and the promise of the technology capabilities driving demands on your consumer chain that must be recognized and accounted for.  Recognizing and embracing these demands is required in order to continue to realize value from your consumer chain.  Key consumers, these are the consumers that return over and over and drive your continued sales and growth, demand fresh community opportunities in an increasing velocity and you must engage with these demands in order to continue and grow the relationships and the resulting value of these relationships. 


Consumers demand additional return on their participation and engagement as well, it is not good enough for the retailer to simply provide a portal for sales.  The consumer demands engagement and interaction from the retailer, and ideally other consumers that are also engaged with the retailer to develop a community.  The results of this engagement of both consumers and retailer is a community that provides a reason for the consumer to return over and over again.  As I have said, the consumer demands fresh content and two way engagement from the community to provide a reason to return.  The consumer demands not only fresh content, the consumer also demands the opportunity to develop and provide content for the community.  This provides the reason for consumers to return over and over again; the ability to create content and then interact with other consumers and even the retailer based on the reaction to the content.


The key influence on the consumer chain is the consumer demands and interactions with the community and the chain.  The consumer demands are driven by additional factors like seasonal changes and cultural practices.  All of these additional influences however are realized through the demands of the consumer.  The key to success is the focus on the consumer demands and the patience to build 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?