Developing a customer pipeline is a long term challenge and large retailers must develop and support a long term strategy to develop and support this strategy.  This customer pipeline must also work across all channels as an omni channel customer pipeline that provides visibility and customer collaboration opportunities and encouragement across all retail channels. In other words, this pipeline requires similar skills and capabilities as the consumer collaborative shopping home page and should be considered as a feature and objective of that collaborative shopping homepage.  The pipeline then is the results and outcome of the collaborative shopping home page and a key to the long term success of the retailer.


Most retailers now have a customer loyalty program in place that provides benefits for purchases and also notifications of special sales and prices.  These loyalty programs allow retailers to track and understand the purchasing patterns of their customers to help them focus offers on the specific shopping patterns of the customer.  This loyalty program is a great start but it is only reactionary and after the fact of the purchase.  In order to build the customer pipeline the retailer must incorporate the information obtained as a result of the loyalty program into the collaborative shopping homepage social network capabilities to personalize the shopping and the networking experience to encourage the customer return for the social network opportunities and retain the interest of customers in a collaborative environment that combines collaborative networking and shopping in a way that encourages continued return and participation. 


There are many consumer surveys that state that the younger generation consumer is interested more in quality and value than in price, in other words they are shopping first for the type and quality of the product and then the price.  This tells me that a retailer focus on lowest cost is not only missing the mark on customer loyalty, more important they are missing the mark on developing a customer pipeline of younger consumers.  This is the greatest loss though because the customer pipeline is the single greatest factor for the long term success of the retailer.


Large retailers must develop a relationship with younger generation consumers in order to ensure the long term success of their business.  I believe that developing this relationship with younger consumers depends on many factors and unfortunately the methods that the younger generations utilize to address these factors are regularly changing.  I see a key factor to supporting and bridging these changing methods to be the incorporation and development of the collaborative shopping homepage that supports the changing social networking tools and practices of these younger generation.


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?