Robust collaboration partnerships are important to the success of the omni channel retailers in meeting the demands of the consumer.  I think these partnerships can be categorized into three major groupings; supplier, supply chain and consumers.  Each of these partners plays an important role in developing and maintaining the success of the retailer in the new omni channel market.  Retailers can no longer be successful in the omni channel market without strong partnerships from these three categories.  Each of these partnerships provides a different role in the overall omni channel marketplace and their roles and importance depend on the topic and the demand at hand. 


The important factor is that a retailer must change to encourage and grow collaborative partnerships focusing on these categories to ensure their success in the future.  Each of these categories supports the others in ways that enhance the overall shopping experience to meet the demands of the consumer.  The consumer has an obvious role and a not so obvious roll.  The obvious role is sharing their purchasing desires directly with the retailer to improve products and product mix.  The not so obvious role is in developing the social shopping electronic capabilities with the retailer to produce a robust shopping platform that encourages interaction and participation from other consumers.  In order for these roles to be successful the retailer must both encourage feedback and then quickly act on the feedback.  The social shopping platform combined with the purchase platform provide the mechanisms for retailers institute a continuous improvement process of plan, do, check and act based on the consumer interactions.


The supplier and the supply chain will also provide important collaborative roles in this relationship that will drive improvements that will benefit all parties in the relationship.  Suppliers will gain from the improved interaction with the consumer providing direct and precise feedback on the product quality, usefulness and more importantly improvement suggestions.  These direct and improved interactions with the consumer will improve the management of the product lifecycle and reduce the overstock products in that lifecycle.  The supply chain will gain from the improved forecast and planning derived from the consumer feedback to allow more efficient and timely supply of products based on the consumer feedback and purchasing tracking that will improve the forecasts.  The entire chain will improve from the consumer feedback to improve clarity of the consumer delivery demands as well. 


The bottom line in these collaborative relationships is the improved communications will ensure the fulfillment of consumer demands.  These same improved communications and collaboration will also ensure the success of the other partners in the chain from the improved integration and reactions to the consumer demands.  This will fundamentally change the relationships to a partnership from a service provider or more simply an order taker.  The consumer is searching for a relationship and will gladly provide support in return for this relationship.  This in turn will allow the retailer to focus on the long term to develop this relationship rather than the quick low cost offerings that is currently negatively impacting their success.

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?