Retailers must embrace the concept of social entrepreneurship now in order to prosper in the new retail marketplace that continues to evolve.  Retailers must embrace both risk and change in order meet the new and changing demands of consumers in the marketplace.  We are seeing in the changing retail marketplace a disruption that is leaving behind those retailers that have been content to chase the changes and essentially follow the leader, surviving only through a lowest cost model.  This is changing now, while there will always be a place for the low cost model we are now seeing a great deal of comparison shopping via social networks and an increase in customer loyalty programs that encourages a consumer to start with the retailers to which they have a loyalty program. 

 

Social Commerce shopping and purchasing really embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship.  From the consumer perspective the spirit of experimentation and collaboration of the social commerce network encourages retail entrepreneurial spirit to grow through the interactions and collaboration supported by the technology.  Consumers are able to experiment with technology and shopping and purchasing capabilities offered by retailers.  This interaction and especially collaboration between consumer and retailer allows the relationship to grow and most importantly it solidifies the connection between retailer and their customers.  The interaction and realization of new capabilities encourages participation from the consumer and expands the marketplace.

 

This reputation growth of the retailer as an organization that listens learns from their customers is invaluable from a marketing and marketplace return perspective.  Entrepreneurship embodies the practices of listening, learning and experimentation that is so important in this social commerce marketplace.  Entrepreneurship can generate an excitement that is infectious to both the consumer and the retailer to reach and grow and expand without being limited by current practices, technology or cultures.  This is the force that will break down the walls that are limiting collaboration between consumer and retailer to expand the marketplace and reach of the capabilities to support the changing consumer lifestyles and consumer demands. 

 

There remains though a great of work from the social entrepreneur perspective.  These changes and especially the process of collecting and analyzing feedback to identify reactions and confirm results requires a great deal of focus and stamina to work through the details.  There is also a bit of adventurer required to push forward in a direction based on a hunch or potential.  Retailers must break the habit of stagnation in their process and methods for interacting with consumers for shopping and sales.  Consumers are continuously experimenting with new technology, capabilities and tools and because of this retailers must become just as adventurous in searching out and embracing new technology, tools and products to maintain the consumer interest and also to encourage the consumer to return.

 

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?