I think the best way to describe social commerce is that it combines the shopping and purchasing aspects of the retail marketplace across all channels at the speed of life. A key struggle for retailers now is building the framework of technology, people and real estate into a cohesive experience that can support the velocity of change that is demanded by the millennials. Millennials are comfortable with technology and they have also integrated technology into their lifestyles to support the social interactions and their lifestyles. These practices by millennials is having a greater impact on the retail marketplace as they grow in the marketplace. As a result of this growth in the marketplace the velocity of change is increasing in a manner that is uprooting the marketplace common practices.
Retailers must realize now that they can no longer control the marketplace and they must change their practices and framework to support the speed at which change is occurring. To delay means a loss of market share and the beginning of the end for the retailers. Large legacy retailers are realizing the market is changing and they are now making adjustments to change with the market. These retailers are incorporating tactics that have been successful in the past to realign their channels to the market. Time will tell though whether they have started the process in time to overcome the challenge.
The challenge for retailers is the velocity of change driven into the marketplace by social commerce. Retailers must address the velocity of change challenge now in order to survive. This requires a significant change in their strategy and they technology capabilities framework in order to support the velocity of change. The manner in which the legacy retailers address the change must be significantly revised from a technology along with culture perspective. Retailers do not have the luxury of reviewing the changes to determine the type of monolithic technology structure will support the requirements. These large legacy retailers must change their methodology in order to sense and react to changes in the marketplace.
Retailers can start with a cost reduction and elimination strategy in order to extend the window for them to implement the framework and cultural changes. They must however begin the framework and the cultural changes at the same time as cost reductions because there is no time now to wait to free up dollars to pay for the changes. This is a life or death struggle for retailers and they must realize and embrace the culture of change and also the velocity of these changes in order to survive. The velocity of change being driven by millennials on the marketplace will leave behind any retailers that do not quickly implement the capabilities and culture to support the velocity of change.
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?