Retail has been continuously changing since the 1990’s, in reality though retail is always changing and growing, based on how retailers have perceived the consumer demands.  The challenges for retailers have been related to determining how to understand the demands and then how to deliver on those demands.  The major and large retailers seem to have difficulty in translating the consumer demands though and seem to have an issue in delivering on the demands.  I really attribute these difficulties to the major retailers control issues and also their belief that they must follow the procedures defined by others that are deemed to understand the retailer demands. 


The challenge for major retailers now is giving up control of consumers purchasing and embracing collaboration with consumers to support their shopping demands.  These changes in consumer interactions related to shopping and purchasing are now being driven in reaction to the growth and expansion of millennials.  These demands though are focused on collaboration and are demonstrated by the growth in mobile shopping and networking apps recently.  Retailers have been chasing the consumer demands and reacting by providing extended means of purchasing and ignoring the underlying consumer desires and demands.  It seems to me that the major retailers require a shock to the system in order to understand the new consumer demands. 


In order to survive and succeed going forward retailers must change from telling consumers what they should want and how they should purchase to collaborating with consumers to develop a virtual.  Millennials are changing the definition of consumer interaction and retailers are having difficulty in reacting to these new definitions.  Millennials having been expanding their reach and impact now in the retail marketplace for years and I believe that we are reaching a tipping point in their impact.  The market has reached the point now where all consumers have had the opportunity understand and embrace the changes that millennials have been developing through social networks and third party apps.


Consumers have taken the opportunity to embrace these new capabilities and have left the large retailers behind with these new practices to struggle to both understand and react to the impact.  We have entered into a new age of virtual department stores and the legacy department stores must understand that their practices must change to interact with these new consumers and consumer demands.  The major eCommerce retailers already understand these demands and are able to change to incorporate the demands while the legacy department stores seem to be ignoring these demands and reacting in ways that easily interact with consumers based on the retailer existing practices rather than understanding and meeting consumer demands.


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?