I have noticed in a new WalMart TV commercial that the focus is on consumables and prominently displayed a laundry detergent brand. Then I noticed an article that explained that the retail marketplace may not have identified the eCommerce penetration in retail because the retail market statistics include grocery and consumables. I find the article a little hard to believe simply because it seems to me that everywhere I look I see ads promoting the convenience and ease of purchasing consumables and groceries online. These points started me thinking about eCommerce frontiers and where is the marketplace going. This is especially germane because of the dramatic growth and impact of millennials on the retail market. I believe that when thinking about frontiers we should focus on market expansion in eCommerce and the changes brought about by social shopping and purchasing.
The market has shifted dramatically based on the demands of the consumer along with a great deal of apps and of course the mobile technology market to blend virtual with physical shopping. This has dramatically changed the apparel, electronics and even home marketplace already. As the millennial impact on technology, processes and social networking and shopping grows these areas will also continue to change. There is one area though that has been a new frontier in th eCommerce and that is the consumable market. Consumables, of course, are home products and groceries that have not been greatly impacted by eCommerce and virtual shopping in the past. There have been services and virtual shopping capabilities available to consumers for many years, since the first wave of eCommerce shopping in fact. The services though have been, and continue to be, focused on grocery store shopping activities that allow the consumer to either pick up their order or have the order delivered. I used to use a service called PeaPod for grocery shopping and found it very convenient.
The challenge though with these services is they only focused on one chain and did not support sale shopping across chains and outlets. This is changing now with more shopping outlets offering such services to provide broader perspective and availability of offerings. Added to the selection now is commodity sales from Amazon and most recently Wal Mart. I think Amazon especially is developing the next frontier of shopping capability though by combining services for one-click orders of commodities and the Prime delivery service. This allows consumers to order single products at the point in time when they notice they are starting to run low and they can use their phone, tablet, laptop or even the Echo to order. This is going to revolutionize commodity shopping shortly, especially as the millennial generation grows in the market.
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?