Millennials are already impacting the retail market through shopping and purchasing practices that fit better into their lifestyles and priorities.  This impact has been increasing for a while now and the millennials have been building their own virtual shopping and purchasing capabilities through social networks, mobile technology and third party apps supporting virtual shopping.  These demands and practices can no longer be ignored or fought by retailers, retailers must now embrace the practices and undertake a strategy of collaboration and partnership with millennials in order to succeed in the future.  Major retailers must make this significant shift, the smaller retailers have already embraced these practices and now the large retailers must embrace these shifts in order to survive.

 

There is now a history in the retail market of changes and shifts that seem to burst onto the market and require major retailers to try to adjust to survive.  Many retailers over the years have not been able to shift and have fallen by the wayside, the best example of this is the impact of Amazon on the book seller market.  If anything, the shifts in consumer practices have sped up and become more pervasive in the market and this due in large part to the millennial impact on the retail market.  Millennials have shown over and over an impatience with the status quo along with a desire to explore and develop new capabilities to meet their demands.  Millennials have grown up in technology and have a level of comfort with technology and especially in social networking and collaboration that is now driving their development of a virtual shopping and purchasing market that is disrupting the retail market.

 

Retailers must realize that they can no longer control consumer practices and they must now collaborate with consumers in order to succeed.  I see this as a long and very difficult road for the major retailers and frankly I believe we are coming into another time of great retail disruption as the major retailers thrash through the final stages of the baby boomer age of retail and move into the millennial age of retail.  Let’s face reality, major retailers are currently run by baby boomers that have a history of control and direction of the retail marketplace and relationship with consumers and now millennials are threatening this control in a retail relationship revolution. 

 

We are coming into an interesting age of the retail market that is starting with a generational clash between control and collaboration.  There will be many struggles between retailers and consumers while the market changes and while these struggles are required in order to wring the failing practices and retailers from the market there is only one outcome and that is the reign of collaboration between consumer and retailer.  

 

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?