Technology and process can be improved with imagination and ingenuity and along this same line, the ability to recognize the need to change along with the the ‘what’ to change also requires imagination in addition to a culture that encourages the exploration and implementation of change.  Retailers must focus on developing the practices and culture to recognize the ‘what’ to change and then defining the ‘how’ to change can be performed by project delivery and engineered practices.  It is important to focus on imagination and questioning the status quo in order to recognize the need and the what to change.  Leaders in the industry are more often than not the organizations that have the imagination to question the status quo and ask questions like ‘why not’.  This ‘why not’ culture will drive the industry leaders to succeed.


Another key to success of change is the foundation framework that is flexible and robust to support the change that is driven by the culture.  Flexibility in many ways requires a great deal of imagination to first understand the change and then to determine the best method to support the change based on the framework.  This is certainly one place where a healthy dose of ‘why not’ can help immensely.  Imagination is required to see the problem from different perspectives and imagine how the solution can be delivered via different methods based on the framework and the key objectives.  This imagination must include collaboration across business practices and channels to expand the toolbox of solutions don’t limit yourself to a solution based on one perspective because you may not meet the objective and solve the issue in the most effective and efficient manner. 


Collaboration across business practices and channels along with a collaboration outlet with the customers will be healthy although very difficult to deliver.  This is where a change in culture is required in order to break down internal and external silos.  Many retailers, and especially large legacy retailers, do not collaborate with their customers before making decisions and this is especially evident in cost cutting decisions.  Everywhere you turn now you see stories and studies describing the negative aspects of major retailer cost cutting initiatives on the consumer experience and the retailer’s sales and yet everywhere you turn you see announcements of additional cost cutting measures to counteract the reduction in sales. 


There has been one recent example of a large legacy retailer evaluating the problem and the environment and making the decision to react in a manner more productive to the consumer and sales.  Wal Mart recently provides two examples of this type of reaction; the increase in clerks’ wages and the increase in staff to properly replenish and clean stores for the next day’s sales.  Both of these decisions have resulted in positive reactions and increased sales from consumers.  This shows that there can be another option to the standard practice but it requires imagination and collaboration across channels and and business practices to address. 


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?