Identification and support of developing new consumer trends in the retail marketplace now requires dedicated focus and expertise because of the speed in which these trends change.  Technology and especially mobile technology is driving this change at a quickening rate that can overwhelm the retailer and leave them behind and losing both customers and market share.  The focus and direction of retailers must be identification and embrace of trends in social and mobile technology through with a leadership charter that encourages leading edge capabilities with the leadership acceptance of increased risk of failure.  This is a dramatic change for retailers and they must embrace this strategic change immediately in order to survive. 


The retailer longer has the time to perform an in-depth analysis of options and tools to support consumer demands.  Mobile technology and consumer demands for a quick turn around in delivering on new demands precludes a lengthy analysis period.  This is the reason for developing the in-house capabilities to track early trends to identify quickly a strategy and capability to meet the consumer demands.  With consumer mobile and social apps made available and dropping every day there is a critical requirement for the retailer to develop the capabilities to quickly analyze and implement new capabilities.  As an example on a weekly basis I download about a half dozen new apps for use just because I read an article, or someone recommended, and by the same token I am also dropping apps on a weekly basis that I no longer use.


This new requirement for speed of delivery also means that retailers must be prepared to implement and drop social networking and purchasing tools in days to weeks, instead of weeks to months. This is the most critical aspect of the true omni channel social shopping and commerce framework.  This is also the most difficult aspect for most retailers and especially large national retailers.  Retail has always practiced a strategy of following the leader where they wait for another retailer, a smaller retailer in many cases, to blaze the trail for new practices and technologies.  This practice must change in order for the large national retailers to remain successful. 


Bottom line for retailers going forward they must focus on the consumer demands and they must implement a technology platform that allows for quick and continuous change.  Mobile and social networking technologies have been embraced by consumers in support of their shopping and these technologies are driving a new level of discontinuous change in the consumer demands of the retailers.  Consumers are interested in the social side of shopping and purchasing and retailers must embrace this interest which means that retailers must embrace and drive change themselves.  


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?