In order to produce and maintain a productive and robust consumer value network the retailer must spend a great deal of time and effort in developing and maintaining the members that will support and grow the network. As with other social and market initiatives there is a great deal of effort required to develop and maintain this network. The value part of this social network is derived from the range and participation of the member, along with the management of these members that must be maintained by the retailer. The value returned for all of this effort though is the continued success of the retailer and the network partners of contributing retailers and suppliers. This is the next logical step to the growth and development of the omni channel market and the retailers that realize and embrace this strategy will achieve a great head start.
The network members are broken down into four categories;
- The major retailer / ‘owner’ of the network that provides the virtual social shopping home page for coordination and delivery of the shopping strategy.
- Partner and contributing retailers that provide supporting services and products to round out the virtual shopping capabilities of the shopping home page.
- Consumers that participate in the shopping and social networking started with the shopping home page.
- Suppliers of the retailers that provide the products and will benefit from the consumer feedback delivered as a benefit of this value network strategy.
The consumer members must be catered to by the other participants in order for these other members to derive the full value from this network and the virtual social shopping strategy. This is the greatest challenge of the value network; to maintain the consumer interest and encourage the consumer participate in the virtual shopping strategy.
Consumers are the foundational members fo the value network because without the consumer participation the virtual social shopping home page is useless. The key to this strategy is the social participation of consumers. The key to participation of consumers though is an interesting and consumer friendly home page. The challenge for the retailer and other contributing members of the network is developing and maintaining the consumer interest in this virtual home page. This requires a significant investment in time and effort from the members of the network in order to encourage consumers to engage in the concept.
Let’s face it, the consumer block that will deliver the benefits of this strategy are also the consuemrs that are the most fickle and demanding. This group of millenials are the future of retail though and in order to maintain future success, the large retailers must develop and grow the value network relationship with these most difficult consumers.
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?