This year has brought many changes to the supply chain and the retail market which has been both exciting and frustrating for both retailers and consumers.  It's been exciting for consumers because they are finally reaching the critical mass point where the are able to control and direct their activities and interactions with other consumers and the retail market.  Its been frustrating for retailers because I’m sure that it feels to them that now they cannot maintain their control and direction of the retail marketplace and interaction with consumers.  A third aspect to the changes in related to the growth in the market of the millennial consumer base and this is also pushing the consumer demands and activities to a level of interaction and experimentation that has not been seen before.


Retailers are now buffeted by the demands of consumers, the need for cost and inventory controls, the cost of supporting the consumer demands and finally the changes to the retail market that is spilling over to the real estate market. The large legacy retailers hare caught in the middle of an industry upheaval that is changing the brick and mortar market to blend changels more fluidly in order to support consumer demands.  These changes are being driven now by the growth of millennial consumers in the market.  Millennials are now dragging the retail market into the twenty first century by introducing social technology and mash-ups to support their lifestyles.  The growth of millennials in the market is dramatically increasing their influence and the impact of their demands is much greater on the retail market.  The key challenge for retailers is the impact of these activities on the retailer culture and the cost of this impact.


Consumers are embracing the technology introduced through mobile technology, wireless capability expansion and social network utilization along with the capabilities introduced by millennials at a greater rate and velocity to support their lifestyle requirements.  This hearty embrace and growth of technology capabilities is building on existing capabilities to quicken the velocity of change that is being developed by consumers and pushed onto retailers.  Retailers now must prepare and develop a framework and strategy that will allow them to quickly react and integrate new features and capabilities as they are introduced by consumers.  Most important though is that we are entering an age of intense collaboration and retailers must prepare their framework and strategy to quickly identify, react and integrate new capabilities into the market and the best way to support these new requirements is through increased collaboration with market participants.


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?