We have already seen an impact on Black Friday sales and plans resulting from the impact of consumer lifestyle demands in the focus purchasing outlets changing from brick and mortar to virtual purchasing methods.  These changes began in earnest last year and are expanding and continuing this year.  You already have seen an impact on purchasing from eCommerce over the last few days especially from consumers that have shifted from in-store purchasing to eComerce purchasing and this shift is not taking place along generational lines.  These shifts are taking place based on lifestyle demands and opportunities where consumers are given a choice in purchasing online or fighting the crowds, a great deal more consumers are choosing to make the purchase online.

 

A major factor in these shifts is consumer comfort and confidence in the technology and the online purchasing services.  Another factor is the embrace of mobile technology (smartphones, apps and network) and social networking by consumers of all generations and the expansion of commercial advertising on these networks.  Consumers are taking control of their shopping and purchasing practices now more than ever and utilizing the mobile tools and technology in these changes to allow them to tailor their shopping and purchasing to meet their changing lifestyles

 

These factors are interesting to me because by all accounts and appearances the major retailers have been caught flat footed from these shifting consumer demands.  The majority of major retailers and by all accounts news outlets as well have been focused in the past and controlling consumer purchasing while consumers themselves are changing their shopping and purchasing practices.  The news outlets are still focused on the brick and mortar Black Friday shopping crowds while consumers are continuing to shift to virtual shopping and eCommerce purchasing.  I see the news reports hyping the shopping while I hear a completely different story when discussing Christmas shopping with friends and family.

 

These changes are impacting the not only the consumer to retailer relationship and they are also affecting the manufacturer to consumer relationship from the perspective of both interaction and purchasing.  Most major large retailers continue fight consumer shopping changes by focusing limiting sales across channels and ignoring consumer and partner collaboration.  Consumers have already moved beyond these futile limitations through their embrace of new tools and apps offered by third party developers and the wireless services.  Retailers must shift their focus now to support consumer lifestyles and collaboration demands if they are to succeed and even survive in the retail environment in the future. 

 

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?