The growth of the Internet along with high speed network capabilities brought a time of experimentation and expansion into new tools and capabilities.  The growth and expansion of wireless and mobile technology quickened expanded the experimentation and quickened the change process.  Consumers are now probably the greatest segment of experimenters in the marketplace.  With the expansion of millennial generation in the marketplace this pace of experimentation and change has only quickened.  One of the key driving factors for this increase in experimentation and change is the social networks and the play store.  The social network along with the expansion of focused ads in the web has increased the visibility of new tools and capabilities that have drawn interest and increased consumer experimentation to incorporate new tools into their online experience.

 

Consumers embraced these new opportunities to bring about a new explosion of experimentation to determine how to use the new tools and social networks together.  The growth in millennials in the the marketplace sealed these practices and really pushed the market disruption into overdrive.  This experimentation has caught the omni-channel retailer by surprise and this disruption has impacted their business model in ways that they have not come to understand yet.  Consumers have taken control of their shopping and purchasing and this is the key reason for the disruption in the marketplace.  The major retailers are no longer in control of the marketplace and can no longer dictate how and when consumers purchase and shop.

 

Experimentation is not new in the retail marketplace, what is new though is the level and types of experimentation possible through eCommerce, and the expanded availability and capabilities of technology tools that consumers use to shop.  Consumer experimentation and the technology tools and capabilities have reached a critical mass and now consumers are mashing tools in ways that the creaters of the tools did not imagine.  This experimentation leads to a dramatic and discontinuous increase of change in the retail marketplace.  Retailers must stop fighting and must embrace the changes in the marketplace to survive.  This means that retailers must change their culture from a relatively closed, command and control culture, to a more open and collaborative culture.  This collaborative culture must embrace consumers to open the communications and create a shared experimentation method that encourages participation from retailers and consumers to develop new methods to support the consumer demands.

 

I think that Amazon’s greatest practice and belief is the power of experimentation.  Amazon encourages experimentation and does not fear failure, don’t get me wrong I understand that continuous failure is not a successful strategy, however fear of failure is also not a successful strategy.  The draw of consumers to Amazon is not only the price and the ease of purchase it is to a large extent the Amazon belief and practice of experimentation.  These practices have encouraged new customers to try the retailer and have also created new market opportunities and even markets.  

 

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?