The current retail model involves retailers selecting and offering products to consumers based on previous sales patterns and new manufacturer offerings and this model has worked for a long time and this model is very comfortable for retailers.  There is a new model coming together and forming now that is being supported by the technology now available to consumers which allows the consumer much more flexibility and better supports the demands of consumers.  This new model blends social networks, location based knowledge, pre-established interests of the consumer and published retailer sales information to provide the consumers with more accurate special pricing, Then combine these capabilities with the power of mobile purchasing technologies and you have the ingredients of  a major consumer shift in shopping and purchasing patterns.

 

This new model is now added to the consumer learned purchasing practice to search for the lowest price to encourage and extend the lowest price purchasing practice and the killer part of this equation is that consumers are combining service purchasing apps to more efficiently purchase from the lowest price retailer.  This is then fed by retailers such as Wal Mart or even Amazon to extend and encourage the drive for lowest price.  This is fine for the staples, or commodities, however extending into fashion and apparel is what is causing issues for the large department store type retailers.  These large department store retailers must break out of the price spiral and partner with consumers to encourage them to change the focus from price to other factors such as style, name, fit and service. The point is that while price is an important factor, there are other factors that are just as important and the consumer must be re-educated to understand and embrace these other factors.

 

Now is the time to engage the consumer in a two way, mutually beneficial, conversation where the consumer provides insight and suggestions to the retailer and the retailer provides simplicity in shopping and the types of products and services the consumer desires.  The power and benefit of the collaborative shopping site extends across and between consumers and the retailer due to the electronic framework that supports the site.  The retailer can easily experiment and obtain instant feedback new products, revisions to existing products and marketing.  The consumer can also then easily experiment with new products and uses for products and obtain feedback from their friends in the virtual shopping environment.  Both retailer and consumer then can achieve on-going benefits through the storage and availability of direct historical information to determine potential new uses and opportunities. 

 

In order to achieve these benefits the retailer must first provide the shopping home page for that starting point.  This requires a great deal of support for and from consumers in order to achieve and maintain success.  There must always be a constant flow of fresh ideas and and interaction between consumers and retailer with all the types of interaction supported and encouraged. 

 

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?