Retailers are challenged to adjust and incorporate new methods and features demanded by consumers to encourage and ensure consumer retention and sales.  These demands are especially challenging because they require a level of collaboration and open cooperation across partners and consumers at greater and greater levels.  These demands are coming faster and faster as millennials have entered into the marketplace bringing with them increased integration and collaboration demands.  Retailers have displayed a history of fighting consumer demands for collaboration and support of new shopping methods.  Unfortunately for retailers this hesitation has not slowed consumer change however it has hurt consumer relationships with retailers.

 

Retailers have struggled with incorporating consumer demands into their shopping and purchasing capabilities and as such their relationships with consumers.  I see the impact of the millennial generation directly on the demands and retailer relationship with consumers.  Millennials have taken the technology available to mash together in ways that support their demands and bypass retailer efforts to control purchasing.  Consumers now have shopping options supported by technology that are highly flexible and support their changing lifestyles.  Retailers now are struggling to in their attempts to control rather than building collaborative environments that can engage the consumers in their new demands. 

 

Consumers have recognized and embraced the tools available to improve their shopping and purchasing capabilities to meet their lifestyle needs.  There are thousands of outlets from online to brick and mortar that consumers can utilize and consumers are beginning to embrace the tools that will allow them to shop and purchase in the most efficient manner.  The large retailers must now recognize and adjust to these demands if they are to survive much longer.  I see large retailers struggling to adjust and control changes in shopping and purchasing when they should be collaborating with partners and consumers to develop new shopping practices that support consumer demands.

 

The large retailers have been stuck in the past in their practices and must incorporate dramatic change into their capabilities and relationships with consumers and their supply chain partners.  There is a dramatic change coming and retailers must change in order to survive in the future.  Consumers are in the beginning stages of taking control of their shopping and purchasing in ways that were not available a year ago and in addition, a year from now the changes in the environment will be even greater.  Retailers have no choice, they must change or die and change does not mean a focus on the lowest price, free shipping or purchasing any time, change means collaboration and developing new relationships with consumers and other retailers to support consumer lifestyles.  This holiday season will see a greater shift to online purchasing and retailers must adjust to this in creating a virtual environment that supports the consumer shopping needs.

 

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?