Social commerce, in my opinion, is built on a collaborative marketplace framework of technology, social networks and most importantly a collaborative viewpoint and practices by the consumer to provide the fuel to make social commerce a disruptive force in the retail marketplace. Without the collaborative framework supported by consumers using the technology and social networks social commerce would simply be viewed as another retail channel. However, the consumer embrace of the technology and social network tools at their disposal in a collaborative framework have changed the retail marketplace in ways that are still being discovered. Leadership of the large legacy retailers have recognized the significance of social commerce in the retail marketplace and now must also recognize the importance of collaboration in the marketplace with all partners.
Collaboration is the fuel that drives the advancement of changes and the redefinition of shopping and purchasing that is fueling the turmoil in the marketplace. There is no other way to view the impact to the marketplace and retailers are struggling now to re-align their practices with the new technology through acquisition of eCommerce technology. Retailers though must also focus and develop collaborative practices with consumers to plug into the future changes and potential of social commerce.
Most retailers to date have only seemed to focus on the operational aspects of social commerce and have lagged in the social aspect and the relationship with the consumer. Many retailers, and especially what I have been referring to as the large legacy retailers, have only focused on the eCommerce sales capabilities along with the lowest price strategy. This is only a short term strategy that in the end will hamper the abilities of the retailers to survive as the social marketplace expands.
Consumers want to interact directly with retailers, whether with sales clerks directly, or through social network interactions, to guide and support the consumer lifestyle and a collaborative framework based on social networks provides the basis for this improved relationship. Consumers have used the tools at their disposal to develop a collaborative shopping and purchasing environment that supports their changing lifestyle. The legacy retailers to-date have been focused on following trends though instead of getting ahead of the curve and a collaborative framework that includes consumers will provide the tools and information to allow retailers to achieve this capability.
Superb operational execution is extremely important in this environment and must be a focus of the retailers in order to succeed. This is though not the only thing that is critical to success and retailers must also focus on the consumer collaborative framework in order to develop a relationship that will help retailers to maintain and grow their place in the market. Consumers will provide their opinions and suggestion however they must be giving the opportunity to provide these opinions and then these opinions must be used to drive change and improvements into the marketplace.
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?