Ecommerce and the growth of millennials in the retail marketplace have already changed the retail market into a social commerce market that crosses channel, retailer and manufacturer to support the consumer lifestyle.  Consumers now are reaching the point where they are viewing and utilizing these social commerce outlets along with brick and mortar outlets as services where the actual retailer or manufacturer supporting the service does not matter.  Millennials have provided the tipping point push that helped to demand the services and then once these services became available the remaining consumers have accepted and embraced the capabilities to support their lifestyles as well.


Consumers do not have anywhere near the same level of free time as in the past and they are open and searching for methods to support their shopping needs and also fit into their changing lifestyle requirements.  I know that when I am shopping for almost any product I generally focus on eCommerce shopping and even when shopping in retail outlets I continuously expand and compare shopping using my smart phone.  I have noticed that this is more of a common practice than an exception and it increases as the age of the consumer decreases.  Each subsequent generation has a greater level of comfort using technology to support their lifestyle and as the virtual and physical worlds blend, the reliance on any retailer or manufacturer will also decrease. 


The next development in retail will be a push for every retailer/manufacturer to change into distributers that utilize any retail channel to complete the sale with the consumer.  The retail services provide the platform for consumers to shop and then to execute the purchase and the Internet provides the infrastructure to deliver these services. The Internet will provide the infrastructure and then consumers, especially millennials and future generations, will provide the push to change the relationship.  The interesting point regarding these changes is that in many ways retailers have inadvertently pushed this change through their focus on the lowest price product offerings and the price matching practices. 


Retailers have themselves have helped to change the consumer perception of retailers from a full service provider to a low price distributer.  The consumers now are pushing and expanding this concept to include not only retailers but manufacturers as well to change their relationship with social commerce and support their changing lifestyles.  Retailer and manufacturers must now focus on changing their relationships and capabilities to support these changing consumer demands.  Retailers have started the change in strategy and demand and now consumers have embraced and are making the demands and expectations their own.


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?