Consumers are using mobile technology and social networking tools to redefine the meaning of omni channel commerce to incorporate the shopping concept on top of purchasing.  Consumers are showing an immense interest in mobile technology and the consumers are incorporating their use of mobile technology to enhance their every day by utilizing social networking tools via the mobile platform.  The consumer has shown imagination and ingenuity in their usage of social networking tools and the mobile technology platform to create new methods to communicate and share experiences and recommendations across their social network.  The consumer is using these capabilities to reshape the way they interact with retailers, restaurants and entertainment which in turn is driving these industries to re-evaluate their consumer interactions and relationships. 

 

The mobile technology and the tools available from the mobile app stores are allowing consumers to exert control over their shopping and interaction with retailers that has not been seen previously.  These changes are driving a revolution in the retail industry that cannot be ignored without falling victim to losing market share and eventually failing business.  Retailers must embrace the mobile and social networking technologies in full acceptance and integration to create a new omni channel shopping and purchasing experience.  It is up to the retailer to provide a platform that encourages the consumers to return frequently and also allows the consumer to interact with the retailer and especially other consumers to create a safe and open social network shopping experience that crosses channels with ease and promotes the consumer interaction first rather than the sale first. 

 

This extended platform incorporating the social networking technologies and practices is really an extension of the current omni channel platform to incorporate social networking and mobile technologies to support the shopping platform. The platform though requires the flexibility to incorporate, or bolt on, new mobile technology along with changing social networking tools to create a robust platform for consumer social interaction.  These tools, technology and capabilities must be continuously monitored, maintained and replaced by a skilled staff of social networking and mobile technology resources in order to maintain a fresh site that encourages consumers to return.

 

The retailer loyalty program must be included as an integral tool and capability in this social shopping strategy as a framework for consumers to participate and interact with other consumers.  This loyalty program must be opened to focus on the consumer networking capabilities that can be provided rather than only a means for the retailer to collect data.  Its great that the loyalty program provides benefits in the form of discounts and sales to the consumer.  However, in order to reach it’s full potential this loyalty program must be turned into a retail social community of members and participants and provide the means to connect and share with other consumers to extend the shopping capabilities and benefits.   

 

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?

f