The impact of social commerce continues and continues to grow in the retail marketplace. Initially this caught retailers by surprise it seems when sales in retail stores initially were impacted and now the market is in a place where the brick and mortar sales while perhaps somewhat stabilizing are still very soft. It's a bit like watching a slow motion train wreck as we continue with declines in brick and mortar stores, decline in sales at malls and mall closings while increases in online sales remain strong. Legacy retailers are now scrambling to adjust to this changing marketplace and my suspicion is that their activities will not address the underlying cause which is the millennials reached a level of participation and size that is impacting the marketplace in a dramatic way.
Legacy retailers cannot adjust their omni channel structure or makeup to resolve these issues buffeting the marketplace. They must re-make themselves by changing their cultures and embracing the social commerce and social structure that support social commerce. Consumers are changing the way they shop and this in turn is changing the way they purchase. Retailers cannot simply incorporate the eCommerce technology and expect to be successful. The continued impact of social commerce is the process and continuing change to consumer shopping and purchasing habits. These changes have become a process driven by the changing demands and practices of consumers.
These changing demands are only going to increase in velocity based on changing and evolving consumer shopping and purchasing practices. Retailers can no longer rest after changing, they must continuously change and evolve their culture in order to support the consumer demands. Basically it is not enough to implement a new technology because these new technologies require the interaction and coordination of social practices. Retailers must understand and then embrace this requirement to change and then they must get to the difficult part of changing their culture. A culture cannot be changed without the support and encouragement of leadership and this must be accepted as a long term requirement.
The interesting point regarding this continued impact is that I believe that while the leadership of legacy retailers may not have accepted this new reality, the culture of these retailers are in a turmoil that is resulting in the growth of millennials in the job market. Legacy retailer leadership must open up and accept these changes in culture in order to survive. These leaders do not need to embrace the changes, they must simply accept these changes and requirements to allow the culture to begin the change. These leaders can embrace the change at a later time when the results and benefits are realized.
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?