A social supply chain will be the natural result of social commerce and in fact will become another requirement to succeed in the retail marketplace.  As consumer demands increase in velocity and complexity retailers will quickly find out that a command and control structure cannot support these new demands.  Retailers will quickly find that they must collaborate with all partners in their supply chain in order to support consumer demands for social commerce.  The same capabilities and features that consumers are embracing to create the social commerce shopping marketplace should be incorporated by retailers and their extended supply chain to support and even extend the social commerce shopping.

 

Retailers require near real time status of all product delivery from the manufacturing plant to the consumer door and collaborative social interaction with the supply chain partners will allow the entire supply chain to interact and react to consumer demands in a manner that enhances the social commerce consumer practices.  This information should be shared with all partners across the extended supply chain, including the consumer to help to make informed shopping, purchasing and shipping decisions.  The retail supply chain extended partners have already begun extending the consumer relationship and the expanded and improved interaction developed in support of a social supply chain network will only enhance and improve those relationships.  This social supply chain network actually improves the retailer to consumer relationship and allows the retailer to act as a consumer advocate or consumer agent in the social supply chain.  This is similar to the practices of Amazon in providing a retail outlet for other smaller retailers and also act as an agent of the consumer with these third party retailers and even the transportation partners.

 

Retailers really must develop their social supply chain network as an extension in order to retain customers and enhance the consumer relationship.  This development of the social supply chain along with the retailer’s extended role and consumer relationships allow the retailer to extend their relationship with the consumer.  With changes and developments in the relationship and role of manufacturers in the retail marketplace, retailers must extend their relationship with consumers to provide interaction with the extended supply chain partners and capabilities.  Retailers must improve their relationships with consumers in order to retain consumer shopping and purchasing habits and provide the reason for consumers to return. 

 

Consumers have a great deal of choices in making a purchase, from legacy department stores, to online discounts, online retailers and even direct from the manufacturer.  Online retailers currently have a distinct advantage over the legacy retailer because they have focused on developing the online interaction and tools.  This advantage though would disappear though if legacy retailers and large brick and mortar retailers focused on delivering social commerce supported by a social supply chain to address consumer demands.  Legacy retailers must develop the experience that crosses channels and encourages the consumer to return for something other than a discounted price. 

 

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?