The consumer viewpoint of the consumer chain is focused only through the community and the eCommerce sites provided by the retailer.  This is important to remember for the retention and the long term success of your consumer chain.  It really should go without saying that it is always important to focus on the viewpoint of the consumer and the consumer community supported and maintained properly provide the method to understand and focus on the consumer viewpoint.  Since the retail store in combination with the eCommerce site and the consumer community are the only portal for the consumer into the the supply chain you must use this framework to focus your activities and communication with the consumer. 

 

Consumers only really care about the supply chain as the methods supporting their purchasing in the manner that suits their desires.  In other words, the consumers generally only think about the supply chain when it doesn’t work for them for whatever reason.  This is actually the best reason for the retailer to focus so strongly on the supply chain and interaction with the consumer.  The consumer chain framework provides the retailer to test and understand the consumer demands and desires in shopping and purchasing so the retailer can adjust their supply chain to meet those needs.  This is the reason that I suggest that the retailer must incorporate the consumer viewpoint into a holistic consumer chain framework to both understand and support the demands of the consumer.

 

The consumer assumes that all of the disparate parts of the retailer supply chain, or consumer chain, are connected and working together to meet the consumers purchasing demands.  From the consumer viewpoint it does not matter from what channel they purchase, the only thing that matters it obtaining the product.  The consumer is looking for the most convenient method for obtaining the product at the time of their purchase, this means that the consumer chain must support purchasing any time, any where and using any means of delivery.  The consumer does not take into consideration the connectivity or the cohesive nature of the supply chain when purchasing and obtaining the product, they only care that the delivery occurs. 

 

This is where the online consumer community comes into importance in the consumer view of the chain, the community provides the direct means for the consumer to communicate and explain their demands.  By communicating and explaining their demands they are also explaining their view of the chain and their expectations of the chain.  The retailer must understand the consumer desires from a shopping and purchasing perspective and this will provide the consumer viewpoint of the supply chain.  Once the retailer has a framework to understand and test the consumer views, the retailer can then meet those demands with more confidence.

 

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?