Retailers must now  split their focus between building a true omni-channel sales framework and building and supporting a consumer collaborative framework in order to develop a relationship that will help retailers to maintain and grow their place in the market.  The legacy large retailers must provide a more cohesive and fluid shopping and purchasing experience across platforms in order to support consumers demands to meet their lifestyle needs in order to stabilize their place in the marketplace.  At the same time these retailers must build this consumer collaborative framework to develop a relationship that will provide the retailers with early input of consumer trends and changing demands in order to prepare and meet these changing demands in the future. 

 

Consumers will provide their opinions and suggestion regarding their needs and desires, however they must be given the opportunity to provide these opinions.  This requires, though, a method to develop a two way conversation between consumers and retailers.  This is different than the retailer’s standard practice of focus groups, surveys and focus groups and sales tracking.  All of the existing methods provide an after the fact type of measurement that may confirm direction however they provide no early warning or strategic guidance for directional changes.  This directional guidance is important especially now because of the turmoil of the retail marketplace and all of the forces driving change into this marketplace.

 

Consumer direct interaction and their opinions must be used to drive change and improvements into the marketplace.  The importance of two way interaction cannot be over estimated by retailers and must be integrated as a driving factor in their strategic direction determinations.  The growth and acceptance of the social commerce marketplace requires this consumer collaborative framework to provide guidance and develop the partnership with consumers that will support the social commerce marketplace.

 

I am not sure where this partnership will drive the marketplace however I am sure that without this consumer collaborative partnership there will be a greater instance of retail failures.  The marketplace is changing extremely quickly, a phrase that I think provides a great description is - change at the speed of life.  The rate and the impact of the changes is increasing and this increased rate of change requires the retailers to implement new methods to ingest the changes into the marketplace.  Retailers can no longer afford to wait for someone to discover the method to address the changing demands, they must develop a collaborative partnership with consumers in order to work through the changes directly with consumers through a trial and error practice.

 

The only thing that retailers can count on now is change and there are many forces driving this change, both internal and external to the retailer.  This means they must change their methods to identify and incorporate the consumer demands to meet the speed of change.  The only method that can support the amount and rate of change is a collaborative practice to work with consumers.

 

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?