As consumers expand usage of mobile and wireless technologies, there are more and more partners in the supply chain that are interacting directly with consumers.  These direct interactions are being supported and encouraged by changing capabilities and collaboration within the supply chain.  The supply chain is acting as the connector and the glue for the changing interaction between consumers and retail outlets.  Consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity and the capabilities of technology to develop a social shopping network that connects traditional brick and mortar retailers, pure play eCommerce retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers through supply chain connections and collaboration to deliver and new shopping and purchasing experience.

 

The line or between retail outlet and consumers is being eliminated now by direct consumer interaction between the traditional retail outlets, manufacturers and wholesalers.  Consumers are way ahead of traditional retailers now focusing on the shopping experience primarily and then the actual purchase is secondary.  While traditional retailers are still focused chiefly on the purchase, consumers are using wireless and mobile technology to support their shopping demands that then lead to a purchase.  The purchase is secondary for the consumer and they are using mobile and wireless technology to allow them to purchase from a wide range of outlets based on their needs. 

 

The supply chain fills the role of connector in this model by providing the means for consumers to quickly, simply and efficiently execute their purchase from any outlet.  Traditional retailers started this wave by partnering with manufacturers and wholesalers to develop an endless aisle strategy which provided a direct outlet for manufacturers and wholesalers to the consumer.  The manufacturers and wholesalers quickly realized the simplicity of connecting directly to the consumer and began to leverage the supply chain to market and sell directly to consumers.

 

The supply chain has changed to support these new connections to consumers and provide a means build new relationships and sales outlets directly with consumers.  Consumers are taking advantage of these new connections and capabilities to fill out and simply their shopping and purchasing activities.  Consumers are focusing on shopping any time and any place and the cross channel, platform and outlet purchasing capabilities supports these demands.  These changes and expansion in consumer shopping and collaboration will increase as technology progresses. 

 

These changes are beginning to have a dramatic impact on the retail marketplace and especially traditional brick and mortar retailers.  The changes are being driven by consumer’s incorporation of new capabilities in mobile and wireless technology.  Consumers are using these advances in technology to wrest control of their purchasing from retailers and we are beginning to see the result of these changes through impact to the the retailer sales.  These changes will only increase and retailers must change their strategy from control of sales to collaboration in shopping and simplification of purchasing.

 

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?