Retailers must now embrace the social commerce in order to maintain their share in the market as a result of the consumer embrace of these practices.  This will be very difficult for retailers because is requires a fundamental change to the manner in which the retailer not only interacts with the consumer but also, and more importantly, the attitude towards consumers.  This change must include retailers collaborating with the consumer to better understand trends and then to react and incorporate these trends.  Then in order to incorporate the trends retailers must also invest in a robust and flexible commerce process and technology platform that supports the velocity of changes that will come about from the consumer collaboration.

 

A while back when Facebook grew in importance in the retail marketplace many retailers were caught flat footed and had to scramble to implement a process to integrate Facebook into their marketing strategy and toolset.  The retailers incorporated other social networking tools into their practices as well, all pretty much in the same manner; there was a presence created and then the content and interaction from that presence was managed separately outside the eCommerce sales framework.  This worked for a while until mobile and wireless technology grew in acceptance and now the consumer is demanding and integration across social networking and commerce tools to improve their shopping and purchasing capabilities.

 

These technology changes are the retailer pain point because it essentially requires a new technology framework that supports collaborative and iterative changes without a great deal of overhead.  This is where the culture collides with consumer demands and this is where the large legacy retailers are struggling and losing sales due to their struggle with meeting the new consumer demands.  This is where the legacy retailers will require large technology investments to support the new consumer demands.  Large legacy retailers have a huge investment in real estate and robust operating technology that focuses on the cost reductions that can be realized through scale.  Consumers now are changing their methods of interacting and more specifically shopping and purchasing practices that greatly impacts the retailer investments in real estate and technology.

 

This is the root of the issue and retailers are now beginning to struggle with these new consumer demands and practices in order to survive.  This is why you see now many large retailers reducing brick and mortar store presence in order to pay for the cultural and technology changes.  These changes will cause additional fall-out in the retail marketplace in the near future as retailers fail to change.  We are already seeing the impact on large legacy retailers that will lead to a dramatically different retail marketplace in the near future. Retailers must act quickly now because the consumer is continuously developing new methods of shopping and purchasing to meet their needs.

 

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?