Consumers have entered into highly adaptive stage in both purchasing and shopping that is being fueled and driven at the same time by advances in mobile technology.  Consumers have embraced the technology and are hungrily snapping up new capabilities through apps and services while at the same time developing new capabilities through mashing services and apps together in a velocity that at times can be overwhelming to the retailer.  This is the reason why it is so important for retailers to develop their own social shopping capabilities and platform to encourage the participation and even support for creating new capabilities by collaborating with the consumer.

 

Consumers are happy and even encouraging for this type of collaboration with retailers and you can see this based on the types of apps that consumers are using on a regular basis to help in their shopping and purchases. This is especially true of millennials who as a group are more focused on technology and especially collaboration technology.  Millennials as a group are the most prolific consumers of technology and especially social technologies that can be mashed together to support collaboration and shopping.  The retailer that embraces and harnesses these methods and technologies that are embraced by millennials will open their doors to a new generation of shoppers that are searching for this type of virtual shopping and purchasing experience that will blend in with their virtual world. 

 

The beauty and frankly the great challenge of these demands for the retailer is they are not required to internally develop these technologies, they must though provide a framework and platform that encourages collaboration and interaction with the consumer.  There is a very high probability that millennials will discover and experiment with the platform based on the retailer’s marketing to these capabilities through many of the social networking sites.  The most difficult requirement on the retailer’s part is the need for them to hire millennials to coordinate the marketing and the support of the platform.  This is difficult for retailers to accept because it will require that the retailer embrace and incorporate new technology quickly, at the leading or bleeding edge and then be prepared to drop the technology in an instant when it does not provide value or is replaced by another technology. 

 

This increases the requirement for retailers to accept a greater level of risk to success when adapting technology and services.  This greater level of risk is quickly becoming a cost of doing business for retailers to maintain success.  It is important for large retailers to recognize and embrace this change to business practices and relationship with the consumer in order to maintain their success.  Retailers have already come to the realization that a low cost strategy cannot be maintained for their long term success and must now take the necessary steps to shift this strategy to an adaptive collaboration with the consumer.  Retailers must focus on the next generation consumer and this next generation consumer is demanding collaboration and social networking capabilities to create a virtual experience. 

 

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?