Millennials have moved the focus on all aspects of community, social interaction and retail by their expansion into these aspects as they are maturing.  The millennials maturation though is much different than other previous generations because of their embrace of technology and curiosity in all areas of interaction.  What this boils down to is that millennials are bringing to the market a different focus and expertise in shopping and purchasing to fit into their lifestyle and priorities.  This is a key factor in driving change and a general upheaval in the retail market and this upheaval is driving dramatic change into the retail market.  Many of the larger retailers are struggling with these demands and incorporating a strategy that allows them to support these demands.

 

This comes down to a clash of generations in the retail marketplace and retailers are struggling to keep up with the change.  There is nothing new as far as the retail practice being impacted based on generational changes, the baby boomers had a huge impact on lifestyles and now millennials are beginning to drive the same level of change into the markets and lifestyles.  Unfortunately for retailers, this current clash combines the use of technology with the goals and demands of the millennial consumer to drive dramatic change in the retail market.  This technology and the millennial comfort in the technology is a key factor to the rate and extent of change related to this clash.  This technology factor also eliminates a great deal of control that retailers were able to exert in the past. 

 

This loss of control for the retailer has become a fact of life now and retailers must incorporate collaboration with the consumer and flexibility in their practices in order to navigate through the changes.  This requires not only a change in attitude and perspective from the retailer, it also requires a dramatic change in technology strategy.  The retailer's success depends though on changing their attitude towards consumers to one of cooperation and collaboration.  This attitude also requires creating and extending partnerships not only with consumers but also with the entire extended supply chain.  The retailer’s technology strategy and framework must change to support this collaboration and partnership.  This means a focus on flexibility and integration to allow swift change to meet the changing demands of the consumer. 

 

This requires the retailer technology and cultural view toward their partners, including consumers, to become more open and flexible to support the changing demands of consumers and the consumer technology demands.  The retailer must embrace these changes in order to meet the changing demands of consumers.  Some retailers are beginning to recognize the change and are taking measures to begin to change their relationship with consumers, other retailers are stuck in the past and chasing prior demands of consumers.  Retailers must first change their view towards the change and their relationship with consumers in order to understand and prepare for the technology changes coming.  Without a change in attitude, it will only be a matter of time before they disappear. 

 

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?