The consumer chain provides a very functional model for a collbarotative continuous improvement framework that integrates the consumer feedback from the both the community and the eCommerce channel into a functional framework. This framework will allow the retailer to capture the feedback and suggestions from consumers and then deliver on a response that incorporates the suggestions. This framework not only provides a means to collect and incorporate consumer feedback, it also provides a method and a reason for consumers to return. This continuous improvement cycle that incorporates the consumer feedback and suggests into the process will deliver value and also encourage the consumer to return and participate in the future.
It is important for the retailer to formalize the improvement cycle to ensure that the framework is maintained and that the consumer participates in the process. The retailer will continue to realize the benefits as long as they maintain this cycle and encourage the consumer participation. The consumer collaboration frame can be a double edged sword though, The retailer will realize benefits from the relationship, on the other hand, as soon as the retailer begins to ignore the consumer suggestions the consumers will also stop participating and then the resulting benefits will disappear. One very important factor, and benefit, of this consumer feedback continuous improvement framework is that consumers will increase activity and response as the retailer incorporates their feedback.
The consumer community acts as a collector of suggestions and response to actions taken by the retailer and the eCommerce site and the brick and mortar stores provide the actions and changes resulting from the consumer feedback suggestions. Initially the retailer will need to ‘prime’ the consumer community with questions to encourage the feedback and suggestions from the consumer. As I have mentioned before though the objective of the consumer community is to generate their own response and suggestions without encouragement from the retailer. The combination of the community and the eCommerce site provide the capabilities to quickly cycle through trial and revision responses to clarify and improve the suggestions based on the consumer feedback.
A key benefit of this framework is the standardized message and response to the suggestions by the retailer. This allows for the the response to be standardized through the eCommerce channel for all consumers in all markets rather than depending on the individual's rolling out the improvements in each store and in each market. Depending on individual clerks and store management to roll out the improvements in the same manner does not provide the same level of compliance and then the response measurement is also more difficult. This incorporation of the Internet channel into the retail sales strategy turns the strategy definition and implementation on its head and also will provide dramatic improvements in the execution and benefits derived from the strategy.
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?