There are many different pieces and parts that must come together to form the consumer chain.  Each of these different pieces and parts provide value on their own and through collaboration and engagement from all of the actors within the consumer chain these pieces and parts become more valuable and create an important and valuable framework to support the success of the retail chain.  The difference in the consumer chain is the collaborative framework across the entire chain that glues the pieces and parts together.  A second important feature of this chain is the addition and integration of the consumer and the consumer community into the chain that extends this collaboration from the supplier to the end consumer. The final important feature of this chain is the data store of information from the consumer community and the eCommerce site.


This consumer chain must be initiated by the retailer because the retailer will both gain the greatest benefits and the retailer will be at the hub of the network.  This concept of the retailer being at the hub of the network is important because the retailer provides the data store for the analysis and validation of concepts and procedures.  This data store provides the place where the data from consumer, eCommerce site, suppliers, carriers and retail operations all can come together to be used to better understand the consumer demands and how these demands and consumer interactions impact the decisions made to meet the consumer demands. 


The consumer chain provides the retailer with the means to consistently and strategically capture and analyze the consumer demands and the interaction of the consumer with the retailer.  This allows the message and offerings to the consumer to be standardized across all channels while providing standardized and consistent feedback loop of the consumer reactions.  The data from the consumer community and the eCommerce site allows the retailer to analyze the results in a consistent manner without the filter of individual clerks or merchants skewing the results of the analysis. 


The consumer chain allows the retailer to counteract much of the cost containment actions that must be enacted in the stores with a cost effective and consistent strategy that provides direct interaction with the consumer.  As the technology and especially the mobile technology improves and the acceptance expands deeper into the consumer daily actions the retailer must embrace the consumer chain in order to tap into the consumer practices and reactions.  This practice will increase the consumer retention and as a result the sales because the retailer will understand the demands of the consumer.


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