As the demands of consumers in both social shopping and purchasing along with changing mobile technology capabilities the demands on the retailer’s omni channel support team will also be changing. These changes reflect both an increase in demand for new capabilities along with an increase in the new types of skills necessary to support and grow with the new demands. The tehcnology skill demands are relatively easy to support because they are clear. The difficulty will lie in the increased demand of the softer creative and analytical skills that will be required to identify and understand trends and new tools and capabilities and then the skills to determine how to integrate new trends and technology into the omni channel social shopping and purchasing platforms.
The omni channel platform is developing into a single view, or doorway into the retailer’s offerings and services across all channels. With the increase in mobile technology capabilities and acceptance by the consumer all channels are becoming blurred to the point where the channels are utilized simultaneously by the consumer. This becomes very complicated very quickly and requires keen social relationship skills from the omni channel support team, and the entire framework both physical and virtual in order to deliver the omni channel capabilities that are being demanded by the consumer. This requires two activities simultaneously to be successful in the support of the services; monitoring and support of the currently used tools and apps; monitoring of the social networking and social media markets to identify new consumer trends to utilize in the social shopping and purchasing framework.
Monitoring the site and the activity on the site is straightforward and requires a focus on the activities to ensure the site remains safe and that consumers’ questions and suggestions are acted on in a timely manner. As retailers have learned from their introduction to social media it is critically important to spend the time and effort to monitor and ensure appropriate activities and responses across the site and the tools. The consumer will quickly drop the site for two reason; inappropriate or unsafe site and participants, or non-responsive practices to consumer requests, comments and activities. This is a 24X7 site and requires 24X7 monitoring and responses.
Identification of new consumer trends and new social networking trends is a strategic activity that requires a different focus and even a different set of skills. Due to the nature of new social networking trends I think one key trait to start with is highly interested millennials connected to the social networks. It requires a connected team to identify trends and when to engage in the trends. This requires accepting a high rate of turnover in the tools selected and implemented. There must be a sandbox capacity to experiment with these new trends to provide a pipeline of tools and capabilities to the shopping and purchasing site. This will be require a change to the strategy of retailer to support a forward looking sandbox to identify and implement trends quickly and efficiently.
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?