The collaboration community provides a portal into the retailer’s shopping and sales channels and the goal of the collaboration community is to encourage customer return and retention in the community. This focus on the community is important as it provides a differentiating factor to the relationship between the consumer and the retailer.  This portal concept provides a method to develop relationships between consumers and the retailer that cannot be developed in a shopping and sales architecture.  The portal though provides a direct link and the encouragement of the consumer to continue into the community and eventually shop in the retailer's shopping and sales site.


The portal concept provides the best method to architect the community with a framework and format that brings value to the consumers and encourages their return.  This portal provides access and can be used to highlight the tools and features of the community that may be of interest to the consumer.  The portal also provides a means for the retailer to highlight features and offers to encourage the consumer to stay on the community site and continue on to shop and purchase.  Finally the portal should also provide a link from the shopping and purchasing sites to easily return to the community for feedback on purchases and products.  I see that many retailers are simply viewing their electronic channel as a means to advertise merchandise and provide sales, discounts and coupons to consumers to use when shopping, whether online or in person in their stores.


Online retailers are already using their sales website as another marketing and advertising channel to encourage consumers to purchase online or in the store.  The collaboration community can provide a portal framework to encourage the consumer to return for activities that develop a stronger relationship with the retailer and with other consumers.  This relationship will build the retention and result in additional sales based on the time spent by the consumer in the collaboration community and also the encouragement to return to the community to participate and interact with other consumers. 


The portal provides a means for consumers to return and explore activities that interest themselves and by doing so it provides another method to increase retail sales.  The sales derived from consumers as a result of their participation and return to the collaboration community provides the reason for retailers to develop and maintain the community.  This portal allows the consumer to easily navigate between and across activities and functions that support their shopping needs and the longer the consumer stays and participates in the community the higher the likelihood the consumer will purchase.


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?