I have seen discussions on methods of adaptive collaboration and adaptive supply chain and this resonated with me for consumer retail shopping and purchasing as it relates to the discontinuous and disruptive change that mobile technology is driving into the retail industry as a whole.  The objective that I have been discussing is a significant retailer challenge to adapt to the consumer’s changing demands that are being driven by mobile communication and technology capabilities.  There is a great need and unmet demand for flexibility to adapt to the changing demands of the consumer based on their ability to combine mobile technology and apps in new ways to support their changing shopping and purchasing requirements.

 

This challenge requires an infrastructure that is robust enough to support the heavy demands of both the internal research, support and management team along with the external customers to expand as the demands expand.  The internal demands on the infrastructure will increase dramatically as it relates to both the volume of data collected and the analysis of this data to understand beginning trends and ending trends.  I call out identification of ending trends because it is extremely important for the retailer to maintain currency, this includes not only adding new capabilities as they are identified and also, just as important, dropping capabilities as they run their course and the customer loses interest.  The external customer demands new capabilities and expanded services that are increasing across all channels.  These demands and services are falling now on the eCommerce sales channel due to the increase in mobile technology and capabilities that are utilized by the customers from all channels.  This is probably one of the greatest demands on the infrastructure. 

 

This challenge requires flexibility in the foundation framework to be able to quickly and efficiently add new features and functionality as they are identified by the internal management team.  This flexibility is the greatest challenge to retailers, in my opinion, because it requires the ability to support currently unimagined capabilities.  Of course the flip side of the new capabilities is the removal of non-performing capabilities.  This removal is also a very important aspect of maintaining a fresh and interesting site and it requires a robust evaluation and maintenance plan from the internal management team.

 

A third challenge is the actual internal management team tasked with analysis of trends and maintenance of capabilities (both the addition and removal of capabilities).  The retailer cannot downplay the importance of this requirement because the consumer, and especially the young consumers that should represent a key focus of the management team are quick to change and adopt new capabilities.  This requires an energetic, imaginative and inquisitive mindset to continuously monitor and explore the changing demands and direction of consumer interest in order to stay current in the omni channel framework.  

 

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?