Social networking tools allow the consumer to collaborate with friends and family while shopping and this extends the capabilities and the use of these networks.  Retailers must embrace and extend their social networking practices in order to support the changing shopping demands of their customers.  This means that retailers must embrace and internalize the collaborative shopping network and the social networking tools that support the collaborative shopping in order to meet the changing demands of the consumers.  Consumers are continuously embracing and dropping the social tools to meet their demands and with the expansion of mobile technology the rate of change is increasing.

 

Retailers can no longer segregate the social networking tools and support into a marketing segment that focuses only on product marketing and consumer support.  The retailer must integrate these tools into their eCommerce strategy to provide the support that is demanded by consumers.  Mobile technology, capabilities and new apps are entering into the marketplace at a breathtaking pace now and there is not much space between the bleeding edge and the trailing edge anymore and this difference is compressing more with each week.  Consumers have already collapsed their social networking tools into a collaborative shopping practice and retailers that delay in their embrace of these capabilities and demands will be left in the dust with a huge crevasse of new capabilities and consumer demands from which they must recover.

 

The interesting concept driving these demands is fueled by new and improved mobile apps and the imagination of the consumer.  There is a great deal of these changes driven by the millennial demand and imagination in technology and collaboration capabilities that are driven into new mobile technology and features that are then embraced by the experiments and curiosity of consumers.  The millennial demands are pushed out to more apps and new apps created to support these demands and as a result these new apps and capabilities are then picked up by other consumers through the update process.  This quickening is allowing the consumer to embrace the changes in days and weeks rather than months because of the expansion of mobile technology.

 

Retailers have been historically hesitant in embracing new technology because of the razor thin profit margins.  We have reached a time now though where this hesitancy to embrace change can send the major retailers into a downward spiral that is extremely difficult to counter.  If you look at the struggle of retailers recently to maintain their position compared to Amazon you can see an example of these demands. 

 

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?