The mobile foundation is structured to allow for ease of introduction and integration of new features and functionality rather than any specific technology or network structure. Brick and mortar retailers add to this mobile foundation with easy and robust WiFi network access for consumers while their stores so the consumers can utilize their mobile functionality and tools while in the store to support their mobile shopping and networking with friends. It is frankly impossible to predict the direction or types of mobile tools that will come onto the market with any kind of accuracy so instead the retailer must be prepared with a flexible, extendable and robust foundation that provides easy access and supports the networking demands of the consumer.
The mobile foundation must be open from a technology perspective to allow posting and sharing of communications between and across consumer members of the retailer’s shopping site and retailer loyalty program. The loyalty program will now provide a means for consumers to connect and network with other members of the program based on the same types of social interaction as are utilized in other social networks. The foundational platform is open networking technology and then a loyalty program that promotes social networking and sharing across the loyalty program members. The retailer must spend the time and effort to develop their loyalty program into a social networking program that supports a colloborative network of loyalty program members across the membership.
Another factor that retailers must take into account with this mobile foundation is the human resource demands that will be placed on the retailer to provide community management support. Community management is critical to the vitality and the overall safety of the social shopping site and shared shopping experience that must be developed by the retailer. A social shopping site brings the same concerns and requirements as any social networking site as it relates to the consumer. It is the retailer's responsibility to provide a safe environment for the consumer and this means they must manage and expel trouble makers and ensure the networking messages are appropriate and not offensive to other consumers. This in itself requires a great deal of time monitor and then add to that the message monitoring required to respond to consumer questions and you can see the level of support required for the site.
The retailer must turn their loyalty program into a social networking program to provide a foundation structure that can be embraced by the new mobile shopping demands of the consumer. This requires the greatest effort and level of management to provide a sound mobile foundation for their shopping network site. The retailer must be very careful and vigilant to maintain the safety of their site because the consumer will walk away from the site if they find an continuously offensive or inappropriate site activities.
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?