We are beginning to see the results of the disruption in the retail marketplace based on the mobile technology and capabilities that have been embraced by consumers. This seems to have caught retailers by surprise and must be embraced now by retailers in order to remain successful. This disruption is being driven by consumers as the consumer really takes control of their shopping and purchasing practices by using technology and their social network to knock down the barriers between channels. This is causing large retailers to struggle with the changes because the simply do not have either the platform or the skills to easily change to support these new consumer demands.
As a result many retailers are struggling with determining how to address these new demands while at the same time, and even more important to them, they are also struggling to remain profitable in this changing market. This should not be viewed as two different challenges though, instead they should be viewed as two sides to the same challenge. Consumers have not necessarily changed in their demands, however they have changed in the manner in which they are they are projecting these demands. Retailers must realize that they must collaborate with consumers to meet their demands rather than struggling to direct consumers into the retailer’s existing methods, the retailer must become open and flexible to the changes demanded by consumers.
I think this disruption was a long time coming and large retailers have been fooling themselves into thinking that they understand and even had an option as to how they met consumer demands. What they are realizing is that they have not really understood consumer demands or the strength of those demands and with the explosion of mobile technology on the market the consumers are building their own capabilities to meet their own demands. Consumers have provided retailers with information on their demands and desires and retailers have ignored them to a certain extent. Retailers have met some of the consumer demands that either are beneficial to the retailer, or fit into the retailer fulfillment strategy. Consumers now are able to utilize mobile and social networking technology to implement their demands and this is the disruption that retailers must address in order to remain viable.
This is exactly the positive disruption although it does not feel positive to retailers at this point. It is positive because retailers are finally forced into meeting consumer demands and changing shopping habits. It will be difficult for retailers to accept and implement, however retailers have no choice. In fact, retailers must quickly accept and embrace these changes in order to remain viable into the future.
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?