Consumers are driving monumental change into the retail market through their embrace of mobile technologies, wireless capability expansion and collaborative relationships across the extended supply chain.  Some of the key factors in this relationship expansion are presented by the expansion of collaborative relationships driven, and encouraged, by mobile technologies and wireless expansion.  Cross functional relationships throughout the retail market and especially the extended supply chain are encouraged by improvements in technology and capabilities.  The driving factor of the changes to the retail market are these collaborative cross functional relationships that are allowed by the technology in combination with the consumer drive to mold the retail market to meet their changing lifestyles.

 

These changes now look profound in their reach and impact, however, these changes did not just materialize overnight.  These changes have come incrementally over a period of years driven in large part by consumer desire to simplify and support their changing lifestyles.   Many retailers have either ignored, or worse, fought these changes over the years causing a lucrative market of third party apps that support the consumer desires without dependence on one retailer.  It seems that while many large retailers were focused on a price war of goods, the consumer was focused on service and collaboration to meet their changing lifestyle needs. 

 

These changing demands and collaborative relationship across consumer, retailer and the retail supply chain may be best demonstrated by the Amazon experience.  Amazon does a pretty amazing job of bringing together the cross functional relationship collaboration across tools, technology, consumers, retailer and the supply chain every day with a focus on change and improvements to deepen the consumer relationship.  In the same way that Amazon reshaped the bookseller retail market, it is also reshaping the entire retail market now.  I think Amazon is a great example of a twenty first century department store, or probably more appropriately, a twenty first century mall.

 

Consumers are developing cross functional relationships in the virtual retail environment to recreate the mall shopping experience in a virtual environment.  The retail extended supply chain is beginning to recognize this direction and is engaging with consumers to develop these relationships to improve the consumer experience and encourage retention and future engagement.  Many of these pieces and parts of the virtual environment were available previously and the growth and acceptance of mobile technology along with wireless capabilities have been the catalyst factors to cause consumers to embrace these capabilities.  This is just the beginning now though as consumers are now using these technologies to put together their own virtual shopping experience in conjunction with their friends and family.  Retailers must now embrace collaboration with both consumers and the extended supply chain in order to survive into the next wave of retail experience.

 

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?