The challenge for retailers in the near future is the requirement to support new social shopping tools used by multiple generation consumers.  The key challenge is this environment is the number of social networking and shopping tools and the difference in tools that are used for similar activities by the different generations.  The difference in tools and support requirements for these different tools, including resources that track the release of new tools along with the framework to support the addition of new tools and drop existing tools as and when necessary.  The key to maintaining the mix of consumers and tools is the ability to understand the tools, track the usage of the tools and the flexible and robust technology framework to support the tools.


The differences in tools and apps used by different consumer generations requires consistent and continuous monitoring and review by the retailer to keep current.  This is a generational response by consumers and should be monitored and managed by retailer generational resources.  In other words, if the retailer hopes to maintain currency in the tool utilization they must include millennials as part of their team to manage the omni channel market.  This requires a strong, talented and connected group of resources as part of the retailers team to maintain the capabilities that are continuously monitoring and experimenting with new tools.  This requires a serious commitment from the retailer to develop and maintain this type of team so they can maintain consistency in response. This requires continuous monitoring and experimentation because new tools and new ways to utilize these tools does not occur based on some type of schedule.


The technology foundation and framework is really the easy part of the equation.  This requires simply a thoughtful review of flexibility, performance, and integration requirements to provide the type of framework that will support the needs of the omni channel market requirements.  This requires a regular review that can be performed on a regular basis to support new tools and it is a practice that is well understood and currently used to support the existing retailer framework.  This does require delivery of a more robust and flexible framework, however this can be delivered simply by increasing focus on increased integration flexibility.  This challenge will require an increase in the review frequency with a focus on integrating new technology more frequently and sooner in the cycle.


The bigger challenge for retailers will be implementation of the people and viewpoint to identify and implement new social tools to attract millennials.  This requires hiring millennials into positions of control to identify and implement new tools and then, just as importantly, to drop tools when and if they lose effectiveness and are dropped by millennials.  Retailers can no longer afford to wait for the tools mainstream acceptance to incorporate into their omni channel shopping and purchasing experience.  This requires resource generational change to provide the ability to monitor, identify and implement tools because the tools and usage change so quickly by the millennials.


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?