Consumers are using mobile and social technology to adapt their retail shopping and purchasing habits to fit into their lifestyles and their evolving desires. These changing demands and practices are the result of consumers adapting the technology and social networking capabilities through experimentation with the new tools and capabilities and mashing these tools and technologies to form new capabilities. These adaptive practices are increasing and expanding now to change the face of retail into a blend of the virtual and physical being continuously changed as consumers continue to experiment and expand their technology capabilities. Retail is truly becoming a consumer driven market and large retailers no longer have the ability to drive the market practices in the same way they could in the past.
Consumers are using mobile technology and tools to adapt their shopping and purchasing habits as their lifestyles and resullting availability for shopping and purchasing is changing. Millennials are at the forefront of these adaptive changes because of their comfort with the technology and tools in addition to their desire to utilize their time and money more effectively. This adaptation is promoted by third party shopping apps and changing retail services and capabilities. These changes are crossing over all aspects of retail and not just large department stores. You can see retailers across the market, from grocers to department stores, to home improvement offering new eCommerce services to entice consumers to purchase.
Consumers are quick to learn and adapt to new technology and new services to improve their lifestyle and allow for more efficient purchasing. This allows the consumers to spend more time on activities that bring value and enjoyment to them. Retailers are now only beginning to realize and understand the changes driven by this consumer adaptation and retailers are adding new features based on perceived market direction rather than direct feedback and interaction from the consumers. Retailers, for the most part, seem to be following a ‘herd’ mentality, if another retailer offers a service such as order online and pick up in the store, then soon every retailer follows whether it really adds value to the consumer experience or not.
I think that retailers have a great opportunity now to develop and strengthen their relationship with their customers by incorporating what I have been referring to as social shopping, where the consumer utilizes social networking tools to shop virtually with their friends and family. This will allow retailers to interact directly and collect a vast amount of shopping related data to use in developing services that will attract and and retain customers, rather than following the herd of other retailers. Consumers are using technology to adapt their shopping and purchasing to fit their lifestyle needs and they will jump to any retailer that supports their demands. Social network shopping capabilities helps the retailer to develop a relationship with consumers and support their demands through a continuous improvement approach.
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?