Retention of consumer collaboration partners is very important and requires a great deal of focus and continuous interaction.  Consumers are only enticed to participate based on content and self interest and they do not continue to engage unless the level of interest continues and the interaction and opportunities are continuously refreshed.  It is important to retain consumers in this relationship in order to build the customer base and also to develop a relationship.  Social commerce is all about relationships and regular interaction between the retailer and the consumer and since there is no contract to ensure the consumers continue to engage in the relationship it is up to the retailer to continuously find reasons for the consumer to return and engage.  This requires continuous refreshment and also communications with the consumers to inform of new features and opportunities to participate and shop.


The engagement is about interest and encouraging the consumer to return to the retailer and then once there the interest must remain high for the consumer to remain on the site.  Therefore, the goal of the retailer is the return of the customer and retention with the retailer because the longer the consumer remains in the store or on the web site the higher the likelihood the consumer will purchase.  Consumers can be encouraged to return to the stores and the web sites by an interest or a need, then once there the consumer can be encouraged to stay and shop with a hope of the consumer making opportunistic purchases. 


Retailers are attempting to attract consumers not just for one or two purchase but for a lifetime of purchases.  The Internet and eCommerce has fundamentally changed the concept and demands to develop a lifetime customer when the consumer used these platforms to wrest control of their shopping and purchasing practices to meet their changing lifestyles.  To a very large extent retailers created this new practice by a single minded focus on low price.  This focus has changed the consumer perspective and they have used the Internet to the detriment of the retailer because the Internet allows consumers to shop at their own discretion and encourages consumers to jump from site to site in their search.


Retailers now must change their focus from a one dimensional price focus to a focus on engaging the consumer and providing a virtual shopping environment where the consumer will stay and interact with other shoppers and their friends and family.  This new focus is very much on collaboration in order to retain the shopper.  The challenge for retailers now though is related to technology, skills and focus on interaction. The retail industry in general is not based on leading edge technology so there is an investment required in both technology and skills to build the technology capabilities.  Then these same retailers must increase their focus on engaging with the consumers to collaborate on defining and then meeting consumer demands.  These hurdles are extremely difficult to meet however the reward is the long term success of their business.


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?