The omni channel value network requires a great deal of support to provide and support the community framework.  Due to the nature of technology in mobile and social networking and the acceptance of this technology by consumers the retailer must develop a community support network that includes suppliers, carriers, partner retailers and technology services.  These support services cannot be a part time occupation because the community requires the continuous support to provide the anytime, anywhere capabilities that are the base requirements of industry now.  The omni channel retailer now requires a great deal of effort to provide the seamless and robust support in the timeframes that consumers demand.  It is no longer acceptable for the retailer to interrupt features or functionality over night or worse over a multi-day period and lost features during cyber Monday could finish the business.

 

Just like it is important for a retailer to build the community of partners to provide the types of services, products and social networking to the consumer from the shopping home page, it is also important for the retailer to build and maintain the support capabilities across this same community.  The objective of this support community is to provide an easy to use and seamless interfaces on the shopping site to make it easy for consumers to stay on the site and shop with their friends in an open community.  The outward view of the site is a simple to use and feature rich site that encourages consumers to return and bring their friends to share.  The reality is that the more simple the outward appearance, the more complex the underlying technology to maintain the simple appearance.

 

This requires a large staff of technology people along with a staff of marketing and community managers across all of the network partners to maintain the appearance, features and functionality of the site.  As I have previously stated, the velocity of change in technology and consumer acceptance and demand for the technology continues to increase and this requires a focus and strong skill set of staff across the partners to meet the demands.  This will continue to challenge the entire community to support and enhance the shopping experience to meet and more importantly to anticipate the consumer demands. 

 

Large retailers have lost many of the younger generation consumers simply through complacency and this is now becoming a problem and limiting the success of these large retailers.  To be blunt the retailers must encourage the younger generation to shop and this requires a more robust, social and technology based virtual shopping that will encourage young consumers to return to the site to socialize with their friends.  Retailers cannot hope to attract younger customers with only low prices and sales markdowns they must now provide a social shopping experience that attracts younger 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?