The collaboration community provides the large national chain retailer the opportunity to connect directly with the individual consumer in a way that is not normally possible for the large retailer.  The small and local retailer has the ability to develop a personal relationship with consumers because they are focused on the experience of the consumer and developing this personal relationship.  The small retailer has control of their message and the communication with their customers allowing them to focus on their message and relationship with the consumer in a way that is not really possible for a large chain type retailer.  The large retailer message is very difficult to ensure consistency because of the many different locations and the number of employees.

 

The small retailer has the opportunity to focus on their message and control the delivery of this message in a personal way and can continuously deliver and adjust this message to develop the personal relationships with their customers.  This capability is one of the greatest strengths of the small, local, retailer and this capability is missing from the large chain retailer.  This capability ofthe small retailer helps the retailer to focus on the feedback of their customers directly to enhance services and product selection.  This allows this small retailer to develop and grow a personal relationship with their customers.

 

This personal feedback of the customer is not easily available to the large chain retailer and they have compensated by utilizing surveys, focus groups and market sales figures to help them to understand the consumer desires.  This is obviously a flawed model to understand the consumer wants and needs, however this was the best method available to the large retailer.  This is where the collaboration community comes into the picture to allow the large retailer to develop the personal relationship with their customers that allows the retailer to deliver a consistent message across their customer base and achieve the direct feedback from their customers. 

 

This large chain retailer needs to take this opportunity to develop and enhance the customer personal relationship to justify the long term investment in the collaboration community.  This must be viewed as a long term investment that will require patience and and stamina to achieve the benefits.  The long term benefits are too great to walk away from and this means that the retailer must be prepared to invest in the people necessary to support the community and promote the message over an extended period of time to achieve the long term benefits.  This does not happen over night and requires determination and patience to grow into a valuable tool.  

 

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?