One requirement to future retail success is the product delivery in a manner that supports consumer lifestyles. This requires a dramatic increase in collaboration across the consumer, retailer, carriers and even manufacturers. Retailers embraced the concept of ‘endless aisles’ a long time ago to expand product selection to the consumer, however this is pretty much where the concept ended. Consumers have taken control now of the shopping and purchasing activities to the point where the retail marketplace is being remade to based on these demands. The next step in the consumer focus is the actual delivery of the product and this is where the collaboration across participants becomes important.
The retail marketplace has the opportunity now to embrace collaboration with the consumer to remake the product delivery process to meet consumer needs and lifestyle demands. The delivery and especially the entire supply chain supporting the delivery is now ripe for change and as we have seen with the omni channel retail sales and purchasing, consumers now are just not accepting the stale methods currently supported. Add to this mix the entry of Amazon into the delivery space and the combination is sure to disrupt the market and the supply chain.
I know that I am very frustrated with a great deal of the delivery services used to deliver ecommerce orders and realized a while ago that my key frustration lies with the delivery person themselves. This frustration then extends to the carrier because they are not meeting their commitment and cannot seem to make a simple change in routes and driver practices to improve their service. This same frustration is occurring, I am sure, with other consumers and I think is one of the key motivating factors in Amazon expanding into the delivery service.
The second challenge in the retail consumer supply chain is the retailer availability and delivery service level and especially when compared to pure play eCommerce retailers. Omni channel retailers need to dramatically improve their delivery service for products delivered from another store. This issue is the result of legacy inventory control systems and a challenge of locating inventory in a store where consumers are continuously moving the product from its standard location.
These challenges are wide ranging and difficult to address by the retailer, however, they must demonstrate to the consumer that they realize they are challenged. The first step to improvement is to communicate and collaborate with the consumer. Consumers have shown over and over again an openness to communication and even adjustment when the retailer reaches out. The first step though is that the retailer must reach out and open lines of communication and collaboration.
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?