One method for retailers to address inertia and complacency is by expanding collaboration practices and increasing the number of collaboration partners, both internal and external. In fact I think that expansion of internal collaboration partners may just be the most important first step in addressing inertia and complacency.   Complacency starts within the retailer’s organization in many of the internal organizations that have maintained their niche by creating barriers to collaboration and understanding the potential impacts of their actions on the entire organization.  It is too easy to fall into a functional stovepipe organization as a result of inertia which can be difficult to overcome.  The key method then to overcome the functional stovepipe organization resulting from this inertia is through a concerted effort to expand collaboration partners to break down the stovepipes. 

 

Collaboration within an organization can be difficult and even expensive as a result of the effort involved to implement.  The expanse is more than recovered though as a result of the improved process and communications that encourages participation and reactions to the demands of collaboration.  These reactions to the changes and demands of the consumer must be driven into the organizations and across functional areas to change the fundamental structures and interactions in order to most effectively meet the consumer demands. 

 

Consumers are demanding a change in the retail marketplace in the ways that they interact with and purchase from retailers.  These demands must be internalized across the entire retailer organization in order to support the changes and cannot simply stop with customer interaction or marketing without impacting the procurement of products and methods to interact with consumers.  These changing interactions and methods for shopping and purchasing must drive retailer internal changes to measure sales in a manner that relates to the new shopping patterns.  These internal changes are required then in order to standardize and institutionalize the changes in the organization.  The only method to achieve these changes across the organization is a strong collaboration program that breaks down the functional stovepipes.

 

The internal collaboration required to breakdown these functional stovepipes must be supported and encouraged from the senior leadership and must be measured to tie the collaboration to the success of the organization.  Lasting change and in this case collaboration does not occur without support from leadership and then measurements that allow the results of the change to be documented and broadcast to encourage the organization to continue and even to revise the changes to bring about increased value.  Senior leadership may start with a commitment to change and collaboration, however that commitment with waiver and then disappear without concrete measurements of the changes that document the value delivered.

 

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?