Consumers are no longer limited by channel in their purchasing and delivery choices and retailers are impacted in many unforeseen ways from these new consumer demands.  These purchasing and resulting delivery decisions and demands have been flattened by the consumer across channels and these changes are disrupting the retail marketplace in ways that were not foreseen by retailers.  The disruption of the marketplace requires the retailer not only to reevaluate their inventory management and forecasting strategies, it also requires that the retailer reevaluate their culture and internal and external partners to redesign the relationships.  Changes in consumer practices related to the purchase and delivery of these purchases have been changing for years now and have now reached a critical stage in the cycle where the changes are impacting the retail marketplace by shifting the purchasing to the eCommerce channel.

 

Consumers have wrested control of the shopping and purchasing practices to support their lifestyle requirements through a steady expansion of the consumer experimentation in addition to the growth of mobile and wireless technology.  Retailers have struggled trying to fit these new demands into their standard models and now in the last year or so consumers have broken through these models to disrupt the marketplace.  Retailers now are being forced into a period of rebuilding and redesign of their forecasting and inventory management strategies to support the new marketplace. 

 

This disruption started with consumer shopping demands that have naturally flowed into new purchase and delivery demands to meet the consumer lifestyle.  This has been a difficult transition for retailers and the major legacy retailers have struggled with the acceptance of these changes.  In hindsight now these changes are not difficult to recognize, however during the transition period the signs were easy to misread and this is exactly what happened during this period.  Consumers have not been shy about their demands however over the years the combination of the millennial generation growth and the growth of consumer technology have allowed consumers to push through the hesitation of retailers. 

 

Retailers must address these changes in the marketplace as a business process evaluation and modification challenge.  This requires evaluation of the facts in order to understand the business problem and then take the steps to redesign the processes, focusing on the current reality of consumer purchase and delivery.  This is something that must be addressed with the greatest urgency and focus by the larger legacy retailers because I believe that it will require a redesign of the retail marketplace to increase flexibility and collaboration.  Collaboration across partners and consumers will have a major place in this redesign because the business process must be designed with a high level of flexibility including processes to detect consumer demands early to analyze and react to continuously improve the process to meet changing consumer demands.

 

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?