The recent changes in consumer shopping habits are more than anything an improvement in consumer efficiencies to shop and purchase.  These changes embraced by consumers more than anything show the overwhelming desire for consumers to spend less time in the physical shopping activities and complete their purchasing more efficiently and more cost effectively.  The retail omni channel shopping and purchasing changes are at a very basic level a search by consumers to increase shopping efficiencies in support of their lifestyle demands.  Consumers require efficiencies in their shopping so they can spend more time on activities that give them pleasure and the opportunity to spend more time with their family.  Retail shopping in the brick and mortar store is not an opportunity for families to spend time together, it is a necessary activity for families to support other more enjoyable family activities.

 

These consumer objectives have been at odds with the retailer objectives for quite some time and only changed when the technology and wireless capabilities available to consumers approved to a point where these consumers could create their own marketplace for shopping and purchasing that meet their needs.  These capabilities frankly caught many retailers by surprise because the retailers were so intent on their own requirements and unfortunately for these retailers they did not follow the consumer changes to their logical ends.  In fact this process of consumer changes has not ended, it is going to continue and the rate and velocity of these changes will increase. 

 

Retailers are now beginning to realize these demands will not stop and will not slow down and are beginning to take measures to address.  These retailers are now taking steps to address these demands and as a result improve their relationship with consumers.  I have seen the changes in my interactions with many retailers this holiday shopping season in my interactions with retailers and also via news reports of retailer modifications to shopping and purchasing capabilities.  Another area this year showing real improvements has been in transportation and parcel shipping direct to consumers.  Parcel carriers are also taking important steps to improve both their capabilities and interactions with consumers in delivery coordination and notification.

 

I personally noticed a big difference this year in the manner and options to shop and purchase Christmas gifts and these new virtual shopping and purchasing capabilities have produced a greatly reduced stress level in shopping.  In fact when I shop in stores now I really notice the impact on my personal time and frustration.  This encourages me to focus more on eCommerce shopping and also in my limited brick and mortar shopping I have a tendency to focus on retailers that blend their virtual and physical shopping experience to simplify the purchase.

 

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?