In order to maintain the participation of the consumer and the success of the consumer chain this chain must be built on values. These values must clearly define the methods and roles that will be required to meet the retailer and the consumer chain objectives. The retailer must articulate and live these values in order to drive them into the consumer chain and all interactions. These values should clearly define the expectations for the methods and principles that will guide the consumer chain and interactions between partners and especially the interactions between the retailer and the consumer. The values of the consumer chain are an important factor in the continued success of the consumer chain and must not be overlooked if the retailer and the consumer chain is to succeed.
The values must be first articulated and explained by the retailer as a step in building the consumer chain with the internal and external partners. The values provide the basis for the governing principles of the relationship and provide the guidelines to delivering success. The values and principles defined and maintained by the retailer through the consumer chain provide the roadmap to the continued success of the consumer chain. Without these values as the foundation there can be no consistency in the direction and this will result in a discontinuous ability to achieve results and success. Without the values and resulting principles the success of the consumer chain and the retailer will be hit or miss.
The consumer is one of the key participants for achieving benefits from, in addition to the key audience for the retailer values. While the consumer is not directly guided by the values and resulting principles they are the focus and the reason for developing and maintaining the values and principles. A consumer chain attracts and retains consumers through the values and the principles of the retailer and the consumer chain supporting the retailer. While the consumer is searching for value in their retail experience I believe that another key factor in consumer attraction and retention is the values of the retailer and the consumer chain. You see this over and over again from the Toms Shoes practice of donating a pair of shoes for every one purchased, to the Nordstrom value of the consumer satisfaction over short term gains.
The values and principles should be evaluated and revised as necessary as part of the continuous improvement process in order to maintain their freshness. The values embraced and guiding the retailer and the consumer chain are the greatest factor in attracting and retaining customers. Price can only really attract the customer for the transaction and the retailer must constantly be focused on on the lowest cost in order to maintain the customer base. This is a losing proposition because first the lowest cost model does not produce the profit margin to sustain the retailer and more importantly there is always another retailer that will provide a lower cost. Principles based on values provides a solid foundation for customer retention that will last and also support a fair margin for return.
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?