Social commerce shopping and purchasing has created a new retail reality and that new reality is the wave of change that now is impacting the retail marketplace and especially legacy retailers that are struggling to adjust to the changes in the market.  Social commerce impact on this marketplace is not however limited to the sales and shopping services offered by retailers the most significant and therefore making the greatest impact changes are the consumer cultural changes that are impacting the market place.  These cultural changes are the most significant impact and also the most significant to try to implement by retailers and because of this, these cultural changes are also having the greatest impact on the retail marketplace. 

 

Retailers struggle to implement cultural changes comes down to a generational struggle within the organization.  Millennials growth in the marketplace has increased their impact in the shopping and purchasing habits and these changes have been quickly embraced by other consumers because they recognize the value of these changes to their lifestyles.  Retailer leadership however has been delayed in recognizing the required changes to their culture and as a result have been reluctant to change.  I think this is in large part because changes to purchasing and shopping has never before required changes to retail culture.  I can understand a leadership perspective that is reluctant to culture change because internal culture never before required dramatic change as a result in changing shopping patterns.

 

In fairness this cultural change is not a sudden change, it has really been building now for years starting with the expansion of Facebook and other social networks and their acceptance and use by consumers.  Retailers looked at these tools as marketing and customer relationship outlets and while they incorporated the usage of these tools in their practice most of these retailers left them as a segment of their marketing tools.  They never really maintained a focus or further integration plan for these tools to their other practices.  However during this same time consumers continued to expand their use of these tools, along with additional social networking tools to build relationships and share with other consumers.

 

The tipping point however came with the growth of millennials in the market.  Millennials are immersed in technology and they are using this comfort in technology, along with their comfort in social media and networking, to build their own shopping reality based on interactions and collaboration with other consumers and retailers as the retailers recognize and implement these changes.  Retailers are now forced to recognize and embrace these cultural changes in order to support this new consumer reality.

 

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?