Traditional large retailers are challenged with their channel strategies and consumer interaction because they view the eCommerce channel as a separate outlet and treat the consumer experience as separate.  Retailers need to view channels as consumer communication methods that support each other because this is the way consumers view this experience and interactions.  I know that I hold retailers responsible for my experience whether it's through brick and mortar or eCommerce and retailers need to consolidate their consumer relationship strategy.  Retailers have historically be focused on their own strengths and have forced consumers down the path of the retailers strengths and this has negatively impacted consumer interaction and experience.

 

The changes now in consumer relationships are driven by the consumer not accepting the status quo and now developing their own methods of shopping via a combination of mobile and wireless network technology combined with third party shopping apps and social networking.  All of this put together means that retailers can no longer control or direct the consumer shopping activities interactions based on what is most advantageous for the retailer.  This is a dramatic change in consumer to retailer relationships that has caught the major retailers flat footed so they now must scramble to engage and retain consumers in their shopping and purchasing practices. 

 

The consumer is now in control of the retailer relationship and this is causing retailers to scramble to react and  regain control.  The interesting point is that retailers have focused on what they believe to be their strengths but the consumer is focused on supporting their lifestyle.  Major retailers are chasing fads that fit into their strengths while consumers are building capabilities that fit into their lifestyle.  These divergent activities are impacting the retailer's success and sustainability and yet they seem to be incapable of supporting the demands of consumers to interact and collaborate. 

 

Consumers have been clear in their direction and demands from retailers and it is the retailer’s responsibility to understand and react to the consumer demands.  It seems to me that the major retailers have been fighting these consumer demands in an attempt to salvage their control and these retailers need to understand that the consumer relationship has changed and retailers must change with this.  The impact to major retailers based on the change of consumer practices can be seen from the reductions in shoppers at traditional malls to the increases in online purchasing during the holiday season.  It is not too late but major retailers must change or more adaptive retailers like Amazon will remake the retail landscape and leave them behind.

 

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?