It seems to me that social commerce can be viewed to a large extent as a type of business disruption based on the impact to the retail marketplace.  Taking this view as a base then retailers may react in a different manner to analyze, adjust to the events and then put into place plans and procedures to allow an early identification and reaction to the changes that are being driven by consumers to create these events.  Many of these events truly are business disrupting and threatening to the manner in which these retailers deliver services and products.  Viewing the social commerce changes and the rate of these changes as a business continuity exercise and the changes demanded by the consumers as disrupting events will encourage the retailers to place an appropriate level of importance and more important, urgency in their reactions to address these changes.

 

It is clear that the status quo has been turned on its ear and the level and rate of change is not subsiding.  Just like any other type of business disruption the changes and rate of these changes is disrupting the long standing practices of retailers and must be addressed as a fundamental change in the business environment.  Viewing these changes as a business continuity exercise will help retailers to not only react to the current challenges but it will also help them to put into place sense and respond practices to understand and react to the changes demanded by consumers and the marketplace.  The learning moment here is the importance of a sense and respond practices that will allow retailers to react to the changes through a set of flexible practices rather than strict hierarchical practices.

 

Sense and respond practices are critical to the success going forward for the retail marketplace because of the velocity of change now being driven into the marketplace.  As the consumer make-up shifts to a younger and more technology savvy consumer these changes will only increase.  This is why it is so important for retailers to put into place guidelines to sense and respond.  These guidelines provide principles that allow decisions to be made at a lower level and much more quickly.

 

This also requires a shift in technology to embrace the social network and eCommerce marketing, shopping and purchasing tools.  In addition, and probably most importantly, it requires a shift to engage consumers to collaborate and help with the reaction to the changes in the marketplace.  These types of changes require a robust and flexible technology framework and platform to be able to react to the changes and quickly shift and support changes in shopping and purchasing.  The importance of the technology is increasing quickly now because of the shift in consumers to a more technology based shopping and purchasing practice.

 

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?