The changes to the marketplace driven by the growth and expansion of social commerce practices can be supported by a robust continuous improvement program coupled with a focus on collaboration with the consumer.  Continuous improvement practices and methods are standard operating procedures in the supply chain operations along with IT and these practices are also backed into certification programs.  These practices are not new to the market and can be expanded into other areas of the business to support changing consumer demands.  The challenge for retailers is to embrace the practice and then incorporate into their procedures across organizations to support the change social commerce requirements.


This change will allow the retail marketplace ot sense and respond to the changes driven by consumers and especially millennials in a manner that does not require major disruption.  This change will, however cause a disruption in the retailer culture as a result of the changing driven by a robust continuous improvement program.  This is where the challenge comes for the retailer because of the culture change that must be driven by the expansion of a robust continuous improvement program. The continuous improvement practice is not a normal practice for some creative business processes and will require some change to incorporate the structure of continuous improvement.  It must be understood that a continuous improvement program does not limit creativity and it can help the creative process by providing guides for review and evaluation of the creative process.


The continuous improvement program will benefit though from a robust infrastructure framework that can quickly and efficiently support improvements identified in the continuous improvement program.  This infrastructure framework includes people, process and technology and without this robust framework the retailer will struggle implementing change.  One critical aspect to the robust infrastructure framework is the understanding that this framework is a living structure and will change as new requirements are identified.  Based on this understanding, it is not critical or even necessary for the infrastructure to cover all current and potential possibilities. It is critical though for the infrastructure to be flexible and the people and culture to be flexible to recognize and implement changes. 


Technology and process can be improved with imagination and ingenuity and in along the same line, the ability to recognize the need to change along with the the ‘what’ to change also requires imagination and also a culture that encourages the exploration and implementation of change.  Retailers must focus on developing the practices and culture to recognize the ‘what’ and then defining the ‘how’ can be performed by engineered practices.


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?