The retail market is being reshaped now by the demands and practices of consumers to mold this market to meet their changing lifestyle.  Consumers are utilizing mobile and wireless technology to drive these changes to reshape the market rather than following direction from retailers to shape the retail market into channels. Consumers are ignoring the direction and objectives of retailers to shape the market in a manner that fits the retailer’s assumptions and instead are using mobile and wireless technology to create a retail market channel that blurs the distinction across existing retail channels and also blurs the distinction between retailers.  Consumers are shaping the market rather than accepting the retailer’s offerings and desire to maintain separate channels.

 

Consumers are creating a virtual shopping mall that is based on product and not retailer or outlet and they are using mobile and wireless technology to eliminate the distinctions and create this virtual mall. Retailers have spent a lot of time and effort in maintaining the channels and competition with other retailers and now consumers have turned this on it’s head to disrupt the retail marketplace. In the past retailers have be in charge of the shopping and purchasing practices mainly through malls and then through eCommerce.  Retailers have fought to maintain the control while encouraging consumers to purchase any time and any where.  To the surprise of retailers consumers had their own objectives which is to change their shopping and purchasing practices to meet their changing lifestyles.

 

The tipping point of this change is the consumer embrace of mobile and wireless technology in combination with social networking technology.  Consumers are using this technology to help them to create a new retail market that is not dependent on purchase channel and supports their lifestyle allowing them to shop any time and any place for any product.  In the past, consumers would need to shop in a mall to purchase the products they desire and these shopping outings eventually turned into a social outlet.  The Internet has changed this perspective to allow the consumers to create a virtual mall to support their shopping and purchasing needs.  Consumers have never really been interested in retailer based purchasing, consumers have always purchased from retailers based on the product and service offered.  Retailers have really been fooled into believing that shoppers returned to the store brand when they are only really returning because of the product and service.

 

Retailers have focused on building service into their brand and this has been a winning strategy in the past.  Now however we are seeing that consumers are interested in a retail market that supports their changing lifestyle and this means that retailers must also change to focus on meeting the consumer’s changing lifestyle.

 

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?