Mobile technology and capabilities is fundamentally changing the retail omni channel environment and this requires a re-evaluation of the retailer shopping and selling practices. This change should be driving the retailer to view the long term relationship with the consumer rather than the short term purchase transaction relationship with the consumer. While the consumer is moving forward and changing the manner in which they interact with the retailer along with the tools they use for this interaction, the average retailer is focused on pricing strategies along with new purchasing and delivery options. Consumers have embraced mobile technology to help them change the way they shop and retailers must recognize this ‘new reality’ in order to support and retain the consumer and sales.
Don’t get me wrong, the logistics of the purchase and delivery is critical to the success of the customer relationship, however this is changing from a differentiating factor to a cost of entry. Purchase and delivery logistics that support the changing consumer lifestyle and demands have been changing with the demands of the industry. This has been considered and required as a market entry basic business requirement and carriers, especially parcel carriers, have been changing and enhancing their capabilities to meet these consumer demands. The reason this has been successful for the carriers and the retailers using these carriers is that the carrier is focused on one thing; delivery to the consumer in the manner that meets the consumer demands. This has worked very well because these carriers are focused on one function and they have improved dramatically based on the demands of the omni channel marketplace.
I see the challenge with the retailer and their new requirement to focus on the customer relationship to retain customers and maintain sales. This means that retailers recognize the power and influence of social networking on the omni channel shopping and based on this must develop new practices to engage the consumer in this social shopping. Retailers know that every touch by a consumer does not result in a sale and up to know the key strategy of retailers has been a type of commodity sales based on price. Retailers have now recognized that a low cost and ‘always a sale’ strategy impacts the retailer brand image in negative ways that generate a negative force in sales and consumer perception. A key point related to this realization is that large omni channel retailers cannot continue to compete with Amazon or Google in a price war and hope to win.
The new omni channel will focus on the customer relationship first and then on the sales because the relationship will encourage the return and retention of the customer. This is a next step progression of the omni channel and the consumer is way ahead of the average large retailer in their utilization of mobile technology to create this true omni channel marketplace. Retailers must now recognize and embrace the inevitable in order to maintain and grow their market share and sales.
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?