Navigating the changing demands of consumers in the retail market requires a great deal of creativity in order to piece together a strategy and tactics that support the strategy.  Between consumer demands and use of new and emerging technology by consumers to implement their demands retailers are buffeted by changing shopping and purchasing practices that utilize the new technology.  Retailers cannot rest in their efforts to understand and incorporate new practices to support the changes demanded by consumers.  These changes are cumulative and are continuously incorporating new practices driven by a the demands of the changing consumer lifestyles and supported by the creative use and mashup of technologies.

 

Technology has opened the door to consumer imagination and creativity to support their lifestyles.  These changes are then cumulative in nature and driven in large part by the imagination of a new generation in the market that has grown up with technology and is comfortable with utilizing technology in social interaction to solve lifestyle challenges.  This has been a conflict then with retail practices to identify and then incorporate changes in the retailer methods and practices to support the demands.  Retailers have struggled with technology and a real estate infrastructure that is not conducive to the flexibility demanded by consumers.  As an example, retailers have focused on price while consumers have been focused on the shopping and purchasing practices that can support their lifestyle demands.

 

Retailers must focus on defining the problem and then can determine how to solve the problem, this is a best practice in any strategic development; first define the ‘what’ and then define the ‘how’.  This requires creativity to repurpose and extend technology and physical capabilities in order to meet the velocity of changing demands.  In order to encourage the creativity the retailer must first focus on what the consumer is demanding and in my opinion the consumer is demanding simplicity and flexibility in shopping and purchasing to allow them to quickly and efficiently come to a purchase decision and then the delivery requirements can be met separately. 

 

Consumers are compartmentalizing decisions and practices to allow them to perform more activities in the limited time available and shopping is no different.  Technology allows consumers to compartmentalize the shopping and delivery activities to allow them to complete more value add activities in their limited time.  Delivery of purchases is not a value add activity that consumers need to focus and this is a key factor in the market disruption.  This has now disrupted the retailer brick and mortar strategy because consumers have realized they do not need to spend the time on shopping, purchasing and taking the purchase with them as they would have in the past. 

 

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?