Social commerce is supported by the multiple retail channels such as eCommerce and brick and mortar channels and then these are tied together with the social networking channels that support collaboration and networking along with the shopping apps that provide consumers with insight into both specific products along with location based shopping suggestions. All of these channels come together under an umbrella of social commerce which supports both shopping and purchasing capabilities. These channels are growing and expanding as a result of both new consumer demands in addition to lifestyle changes add consumer imagination to this mix of tools and objectives and the consumer can build the social capabilities that can support the new demands and interactions.
Consumers are using these social commerce channels to take control of their shopping and purchasing practices in a way that is disrupting the retail marketplace. Retailers have been promoting the omni channel experience to purchase any time and any where. Consumers have now taken control of their shopping and purchasing through social commerce channels and retailers have been shown that they are unprepared for these changes. The fact is that retailers have invested in purchasing channels and methods that related to their existing purchasing methods and during this time millennials grew in the marketplace and implemented their own methods for shopping and purchasing that did not align with the retailer's strategy, and especially the large legacy retailers that anchor the shopping malls across america. Retailers across the country have been left with large investments in mall stores while consumers have changed directions to shop and purchase in methods and times that meet their changing lifestyles.
Another, and probably more important, challenge for the multi channel retailer is their operational sales delivery process. Quite frankly my ecommerce experiences with many of the large legacy retailers have been mediocre at best with long delivery time frames and poor availability. Many of these retailers promote an endless aisle concept and then fail to deliver. This is a very bad practice when there are so many choices available to consumers and add to this the social network aspect to warn other customers of bad experiences. The outcome of this is mediocre sales in the eCommerce channel and customer flight to other options.
This is a bit of a heady experience, I know from my own experience, to realize that you are in control and if you want to shop in the middle of the night from a dozen different retailers you have that options. Amazon has provided a great deal of incentives to support these new social commerce channels from their wildly successful Prime service to their array of product choices along with their array of market channels providing quite literally a mall in their site where you can shop for home cleaning materials, to cleaning materials to clothing, to electronics, to school books and on top of that a resale service allowing customers to register and resell their unneeded products. With all of these choices and social commerce channels it’s no surprising that sales at malls have dropped dramatically.
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?