Manufacturers will play an enhanced and much more active role in the omni supply chain environment as purchasing and supply demands change. As these changes develop manufacturers will provide both direct and indirect interaction with consumers to support these new demands. Manufacturers have already begun supporting this dual role and have been for a while now and with direct eCommerce offerings to consumers and these same manufacturers have also been supporting eCommerce direct ship offerings from retailers as well. With the increasing demands of consumers to extend eCommerce purchasing options the opportunity for manufacturers to extend their services will only increase.
Many manufacturers have been experimenting with direct to consumer sales and this will increase in volume as the consumer social shopping and purchasing expands. As the market for consumer direct sales increases, the opportunity for manufacturers to expand their reach into the consumer market will also increase. The expansion will come from demand from consumers for mass customization. You can already see some of these offerings form M&M’s for instance, you can order your customized M&M’s direct from Mars for any occasion. This is turning into a great outlet where the retailer is not greatly harmed by the manufacturer’s entry into the direct to consumer market. The growth of millennials in the market and their imagination and demands to meet their lifestyle requirements will only bring growth to this opportunity.
All of the pieces to support this expansion by manufacturer’s are in place now and the increase of millennials in the marketplace is now providing the demand necessary to promote expansion. This expected growth will also impact the the legacy retailer marketplace and will require increased flexibility and collaboration with both consumers and manufacturers to understand the impact and then flexibility from the legacy retailers to incorporate the changes into their offerings. This requires a dramatic increase in retailer framework flexibility because this is only in the beginning stages of expansion. I believe though that based on the growth and expansion of the eCommerce market along with the growth in demands from the millennials that the extension of mass customization and manufacturer direct support will only increase.
As a result of these market changes, many retailers will probably transform into a role more aligned with distributor than their current role where they provide an outlet and showroom for product. Both retailers and manufactures must prepare for these changes in order to maintain and retain their market share. Consumers have already shown they will take advantage of the opportunity that best meets their lifestyle needs and the expanded role of manufacturers in supporting these demands is quickly becoming the next wave of retail.
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?