A key factor to the retailer’s collaborative shopping portal is collaboration and the flexibility to support changing consumer demands.  No one can tell with any certainty the next consumer demand or mix of demands and the only way to support these changing demands is through a platform that has the flexibility to support these demands.  Another requirement of the retailer is a focus on the shopping portal to maintain a fresh and vibrant portal that draws and maintains the interest of the consumer.  So the retailer must present a robust and flexible platform that is maintained in a manner that is continuously providing new functionality and content to encourage the consumer to return over and over.

 

I have said previously that a successful consumer shopping portal will encourage the consumer to supply and update the portal with new content that interests them.  This maintenance by the consumer though is developed through continuous maintenance and content provided by the retailer.  This content though must be maintained to provide fresh reasons for the consumer to return.  This requires a site management plan from the retailer that must be maintained to deliver the type of portal that encourages consumers to return and participate by providing comments and additional content.

 

The shopping portal can encourage consumers to provide content and return over and over through the tools that are available on the portal.  For instance, providing links to Pinterest and You Tube provide an opportunity and the encouragement to provide content for the portal.  There are a great deal of social tools that can and should be incorporated in the shopping portal to interest and encourage the consumer to return and participate and shop.  These social tools require both a robust and flexible architecture for the platform to support the incorporation and usage of these tools.  The social media and tools environment require flexibility though even more that a robust architecture for the simple reason that it is hard to plan with any certainty the ‘next big thing’, you can only be open and encouraging to support this ‘next big thing’.

 

This is where the portal management becomes important in the success of the portal.  The portal provides the platform for consumers to participate and because there is no formal requirement for consumers to participate on a regular basis, it is important for the retailer to continuously review and refresh the portal.  The portal management provides suggestions and encouragement for the consumer to participate and then the consumer reacts to the encouragement to expand the interest and engage in the platform.  The trick and the reason for the success of the platform is the continuous participation of both the site management and 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