The retail marketplace is changing at a breakneck velocity and this is leaving many retailers behind in their ability to meet the velocity of the changing demand.  The velocity of these changing demands requires retailers to change both their sales and inventory planning and forecasting strategies.  This is a very difficult proposition for the large legacy retailers because these same retailers have to change not only strategies but also the methods, culture and potentially software utilized in their planning and forecasting strategies.  These changes are inevitable however and cannot be put off any longer.  The marketplace continues to change and the velocity of change is only increasing as consumers continue to revise their shopping and purchasing habits is support of their changing lifestyles.

 

Consumers have already eliminated the separation between retail purchasing channels and retailers must not only eliminate this separation, they must also redesign their sales and purchasing strategies to eliminate the separation as well.  This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the retailers to develop a collaborative relationship with consumers to redesign the strategies in a manner that provides direct input and guidance from consumers in addition to the direct purchasing and eCommerce shopping practices data that is required to support the planning and forecasting.  This consumer collaboration is a huge opportunity for retailers to understand and plan for the demands rather than simply react to the actual sales. 

 

This is a great challenge though for retailers not only because of the changes required to their planning and forecasting methods and procedures, it is also a challenge because of the change in culture that is required to also support these changes.  The large legacy retailers are comfortable in their reactive practices and have basically built their businesses around these practices.  Now consumers have changed their shopping and purchasing based on their own needs and have developed the capabilities to go around the normal retail practices of these large retailers to change the marketplace.  These changing demands require that these large legacy retailers change their culture, first and foremost, from a reactive to a collaborative practice in order to meet these changing demands and survive in this new marketplace.

 

Its a brave new world that requires dramatic planning and forecasting changes in both strategy and most probably technology.  Technology has provided consumers the opportunity to reinvent their shopping and purchasing practices and large legacy retailers must also use technology to support the required changes in sales and inventory planning and forecasting.

 

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?