The combination of mobile and social technology in the hands of millennials is creating waves of change demands that are being embraced by the majority of consumers to revolutionize retail shopping and purchasing.  Mobile technology is have as large an impact on eCommerce as the impact to retail purchasing by the Internet in the 1990’s.  In fact, many of the concepts initially tried, and dropped, in the 1990’s are coming into reality through the use of mobile technology.  The difference now is the integration of social media and networks along with mobile technology allows the consumer to virtually shop with their network of friends and family utilizing social media and mobile technology to link to and include in the shopping activities.

 

The challenge to retailers now is supporting the shopping demands of the connected consumer.  The revolution is the demands and continuous use of new social tools by the consumer to support their shopping demands. It is important for the retailer to understand that it is no longer enough for them to support the consumer purchasing demands across channels, they must now support the consumer shopping demands across channels.  In this revolution shopping is not defined by supporting product comparisons and product reviews, shopping in this revolution is defined by engaging the consumer in a social network of friends and family in discussions and suggestions for products. 

 

This revolution in retail will replace the mall for the physical social activities and interactions with virtual activities and interactions that are supported any time and any place.  The successful retailer will incorporate a social home page for their site that provides news and shopping and usage suggestions for the consumer to return and browse at their leisure.  Remember, it is important to retain the consumer on the site in order to increase the likelihood of a purchase and the best way to ensure the consumer returns and stays on the site is to focus on social interaction and community.  A significant influence on consumer purchases is the response and suggestions of their friends and family and the best way to ensure that a consumer returns and remains on the retailer’s site is to provide the social community to interact with their friends and family.

 

Consumers have developed their own virtual social community to interact with friends and family in a manner and time that best suits their needs.  With the rise of the smartphone and mobile social network technology the consumer is using these tools in a manner that blends the virtual with the physical.  Consumers are now starting to utilize these tools to support their shopping needs in the same manner with enhanced consumer tools that provide pricing and sales information and tools that provide usage suggestions.  The first retailer to offer these virtual social networking tools in their site to provide a social community in which consumers can gather and shop will ensure their success for a long time to come.

 

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?