Meeting the demands of consumer social shopping can be especially challenging due to the nature of the consumer’s discontinuous changes. While the flexible and robust eCommerce and social network are givens from a starting point, these also must connect into a flexible and robust product supply chain from the manufacturer and raw materials to the final delivery to the consumer. Without a flexible supply chain the consumer shopping channels will fall flat on their face due to a lack of follow-though and delivery on the consumer selections. The supply chain cannot be taken lightly, the retailer must develop a product development, procurement and supply chain strategy that supports the consumer shopping and purchasing demands.
The supply chain must be just as flexible and robust as the consumer shopping and purchasing platform in order to meet the changing consumer demands. The changes don’t stop with the shopping and purchasing, these changing demands flow through to the product development, procurement and supply chain. These different shopping and purchasing patterns drive changes into the procurement and final delivery to the consumer as well. These changes must be accounted for and supported by the supply chain strategy. The omni channel shopping and purchasing platforms flow directly into an omni channel supply chain that must support all of the consumer purchasing and delivery demands. It is no longer enough to offer a platform for consumers to shop and purchase at any time and from anyplace, the supply chain must be prepared to delivery from any place to any place.
This flexibility is also being driven into the product development and procurement process as well as the purchase and delivery process. The changes to the shopping and purchasing methods and cycles translate into changes in product development through incorporating consumer feedback on products and product pairings. These changes also translate into procurement demands to support both ramp up and ramp down of product sales. Consumers will not wait for a three to six month product development and procurement cycle, the consumer wants the product and combination products when the mood hits and they will simply move on to the next product, or worse the next retailer, if the products they desire are not available. This translates into a procurement practice that blends overseas manufacturing with local or near shore manufacturing.
The supply chain strategy (product development, procurement and delivery) must be included in the overarching consumer shopping and purchasing strategy in order to meet the demands of the consumer. This requires a blending of the short term and long term strategic decisions to develop a flexible and robust omni channel supply chain to meet the changing demands of the consumer shopping and purchasing 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?