Consumers desire and are searching for simplification of their shopping and purchasing experience and this crosses over all channels and all products.  An important aspect to this simplification in my opinion is the shopping experience.  Consumer demands are growing and changing a breakneck pace now and this is due in very large part to the growth of millennials in the retail market.  Consumer purchasing and shopping has been influenced a great deal by both millennial demands and expectations and the ability of electronic retailers to meet and influence these demands. Consumers are searching now for simplification in their retail experience starting with shopping and then the simplification of shopping quickly moves into simplification of purchasing and the delivery aspect.

 

Millennials began and really focused the demands and transition that started this process of simplification and as their numbers in the market grew, their demands took on new importance.  Another aspect of this simplification process is the influence of electronic retailers and especially Amazon who were able to quickly react to changes in consumer demands.  In fact not only have the electronic retailers been quick to react but they have also been driving changes into the process.  Electronic retailers have done a tremendous job in driving shopping and purchasing expectations and have focused on execution in a manner that the large retailers have ignored to a large extent. 

 

It is a natural tendency for anyone to focus on their strengths and try to ignore or play down their weaknesses.  Retailers are no different in this matter and this provides consumers with a clear choice in their focus on simplification.  In this respect I see the large department store and chain retailers at a disadvantage from the perspective of simplified shopping and purchasing because they have focused on the brick and mortar aspect of shopping and purchasing with the eCommerce side as a secondary outlet.  Consumers are now focused more on the eCommerce aspect of shopping and purchasing because of its simple nature that easily fits into their lifestyle.

 

The large department store is at a disadvantage because their eCommerce delivery capabilities do not meet the standards provided by Amazon and this is driving consumers to the eCommerce retailers.  I have been doing most of my holiday shopping over the Internet this year and one experience with a large retailer puts it all in perspective.  I placed an eCommerce order with a large department store chain and it took over a week to deliver an in stock item.  This experience only leads me to focus shop more at Amazon because of the dramatic differences in delivery and simplified shopping.

 

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?