Millennials have embraced retail through their own vision and tools for shopping and purchasing.  The challenge for retail now is to understand and embrace these practices and tools to provide the omni channel environment that supports the millennial’s practices and demands.  This is a strategic paradigm shift in retail practices that will be forced on retailers as a result of the shifts in their customer base.  Millennials are the first wave of generations that embraced the technology capabilities available in imaginative ways that meet their own needs and desires.  This is not a temporary blip in the practices of the consumer, it is more an introduction to the types of change and velocity of change these generations will bring to the retail industry.

 

Millennials are one of the early generations that have embraced technology to support their lifestyle choices and methods for achieving their goals.  Their practices have spread through all aspects of their life and all interactions both professional and personal.  Their choices and demands have influenced the workplace and are certainly influencing their retail practices in the same manner.  These changing demands are increasing in velocity as well as these practices are accepted and embraced by others.  Newer generations will only increase the velocity of change in practices and there is no way for retailers to ignore these demands. 

 

I think it is past time for retailers to also embrace the technology and the demands of their customers in a manner that supports their demands and succeed in the future.  Millennials have started to force retailers to develop and provide a truly omni-channel retail shopping and purchasing capability.  What I mean by this is that millennials have already embraced apps that provide enhanced social networking capabilities that they are now using in their retail shopping practices.  Millennials are creating their own omni-channel retail environment and driving changes into the retail market whether the retailers accept them or not. 

 

In order to succeed in the future retailers must first recognize the intent of the demands of their customers and the consumer market in general and then they must incorporate the tools and practices into their capabilities and practices to create omni-channel capabilities that blend and cross the virtual and physical environments.  Retailers have been broadcasting the capability to purchase any time and any where and now they must combine the ability to shop any time and any where with the ability to 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?