The omni channel shopping community network and virtual mall concepts have a very high potential for delivering value to the retail partner network if the tools and the processes are put into place to analyze the results. Without the tools and process though the retailer network will be flying blind and might just as well continue on its current path of focusing on the lowest price product offer and as a result never really achieve success in the omni channel marketplace. Consumers must receive a value for their participation and up to now the key value delivered by retailers has been related to cost. The virtual retail shopping community can provide the type of additional value for which the consumer has been searching.
The retailer, and the partners, must understand first the consumer demands and then how the consumer perceived their demands to have been met in order to deliver to the consumer a value. To this end then retailers must have the tools to quickly and effectively measure consumer response and in addition the consumer response must be maintained to provide a historical perspective and measure trends. I am not referring to new tools to measure and maintain the history, these are current big data analysis tools that have been in the market for a while now. The big data tools along with the capture of site utilization statistical information can provide the type of measurements that can quickly identify trends and changes to consumer activities.
Retailers have depended on demand and forecast sales data for a long time now as a means to measure consumer response. In addition to the sales they have incorporated consumer surveys after the purchase and then have also incorporated focus groups to help them fill in and understand consumer reaction to product and market trends. These were good means to measure the consumer reaction 20 years ago when the key channel was the brick and mortar store. However, now we are reaching a place in the retailer marketplace where the influence and percentage of sales in the brick and mortar store has leveled and is shrinking. Now we have the opportunity with eCommerce sales and social network tools to more precisely measure direct response from consumers based on their reactions and actions taken electronically. This provides a more accurate measurement of the reaction that allows the retailer to refine and improve the consumer value in a more efficient manner.
Retailers must replace their legacy measurements with new measurements and tools to capture and measure trends. These tools do require time to develop the historical data that will allow trend analysis so the retailer must act to implement these tools early so they can measure and improve the consumer value parasition. Consumers will not wait for retailers to catch up and based on the current consumer trends in technology there is not much time for retailers to react before they are left by the consumer.
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?