Technology tools improvements and development has dramatically impacted the supply chain to improve collaboration and efficiencies across the extended supply chain.  Technology is also impacting the consumer capabilities in much the same way, improving collaboration and efficiencies, to allow consumers to disrupt the market and reshape shopping and purchasing in a way that supports their lifestyles.  These technologies are disrupting the retail market because these technology capabilities have allowed consumers to take control of their shopping and purchasing capabilities.  The disruption occurs because consumers no longer must depend on the retailers to provide capabilities, the consumers are able to use the technologies available to them in order to build new capabilities independent of retailer capability or desire.

 

This shift in power from retailers and business to consumers will continue to drive significant disruption in the market and on retailers for the foreseeable future.  This is probably the greatest impact to the retail market in a lifetime.  Add to this the expansion of the global marketplace in the retail market and the relationships between consumer and retailers has been completely reshaped.  You can see the results of these changes in many activities and especially in the growth and power of eCommerce retailers in this environment.  Amazon has been disrupting the retail market since its inception and continues this disruption through expansion in the brick and mortar space to re-imagine the consumer shopping and purchasing experience.

 

You can see the results of this disruption across the market from the downfall of Sears to the significant investments in eCommerce by Wal Mart and other large national retailers.  These are initially attempts to chase trends by these retailers, however, in order to continue to survive and succeed these retailers must embrace the consumer technology and the resulting disruption as a factor to re-define their own businesses.  Omni channel retailing is now a requirement and has been redefined by consumers to require retailers to interact in all channels equally without regard to retailer capability.

 

The good news is that the major retailers seem to have recognized this disruption as a call to action and are quickly reacting to the changes through acquisition mainly.  The change though, and frankly the acid test, for these retailers is their ability to change the culture and at the same time integrating these new acquisitions into their culture to allow them to react to the disruption and create a cohesive capability model to support the change coming in the future.  These retailers are playing catch-up with Amazon, frankly, that has built and nurtured a culture of disruption from the inception.  This will be a difficult effort for large retailers that only time will tell if they can succeed.  Along the way I’m sure that there will be disruption and fallout of retailers that will change the perspective and the capabilities of the retail market.   

 

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?