The consumer chain and especially the consumer community that links into the consumer chain through the eCommerce channel requires an intensive improvement cycle in order to maintain the interest of the consumer. The consumer interest and participation is the underlying driving force for the value that can be achieved through the consumer chain. The method to maintain consumer interest and participation is a robust improvement cycle. The retailer must implement a change cycle on steroids in order to continuously provide the reason for the consumer to return and the community must also provide an easy method for the consumer to participate when they return.
I hate to say it, there is no silver bullet that can be purchased or implemented that will automagically generate reasons for the consumer to return. The retailer must engage and implement an improvement process that manages the change from inception through delivery and this cycle must be short, in the two to three week range, with changes delivered on a weekly basis, in order to provide the consumer with reasons to return. This type of process requires the focus and the maintenance of a support staff to maintain the pace.
There is an interesting anomaly in the consumer chain and the consumer community, the consumer chain and especially consumer collaboration community are built upon the leading technology and the capabilities of these technologies and yet the chain and the community require a high level of human support, management and maintenance to support them. This, in my opinion, is one of the critical success factors for the consumer chain and must be provided the level of support in labor and focus and also time from the management leadership to deliver the value.
This brings me to another anomaly, the success requires a long term view with a short term approach. In other words, you must implement an improvement change method that provides the framework to support a long term continuous improvement cycle and on the other hand this change cycle must also provide change and improvements on a short term, or weekly cycle. The short term cycle that is part of the long term process provides the framework to maintain and deliver on the demands of the consumer to provide an interesting and engaging community. This does require a high level of effort on the part of a retailer to maintain, however I believe this is now the cost of maintaining the business. Retailers must understand and embrace this new framework in order to maintain their success and viability.
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?