This period of change in the retail market is driving change into the retail supply chain and especially in the way in which the extended supply chain partners react to the change and collaborate to support the changing market demands.  I see the key areas of change to be focused on communication and engagement with the partners.  I see an extension of the extended supply chain partners communications with consumers, especially in the consumer shipping and delivery aspects of the purchasing and shopping activities.  There are many aspects of the consumer relationship with retailers that will change and require support and expanded interaction and collaboration across the extended supply chain to support consumers and also the retailer requirements to meet the changing demands of the retail market.


Speed and flexibility are the order of the day to support the retail market disruption and this extends across the retail market and the interaction with consumers.  The extended supply chain no longer has the luxury of extended planning and implementation cycles.  The new market demands iterative delivery of improvements through flexible open technology platforms and increased collaboration across the extended supply chain. Consumers in this market are continuously collaborating with other consumers and social networks to revise and improve their shopping and purchasing based on new services and mobile apps.  Social networks may be the single greatest influence on shopping and purchasing behaviors since their expansion into the retail market with focused advertising including products, services and new apps.


One area of expansion for the extended supply chain is engaging and extending the relationship directly with consumers.  This is a direct result from the expansion of retail services and apps from the social networks.  Consumers have become much more tech savey in using technology and are pushing the market through their use of technology to expand collaboration and engagement.  Retailers are starting to adjust to these demands and the change in the market, for instance, Bed, Bath and Beyond is reducing in store inventory to allow them to expand the showroom selection and increase the purchase and delivery online from the store. 


The parcel carriers are expanding their consumer delivery capabilities and consumer ease of delivery through many practices such as early notification of delivery to allow for redirecting parcels, or delivery hubs of lockers where consumers can conveniently pick up deliveries according to their schedule.  The technology drive and expansion in the supply chain and the retail market is focusing now on flexibility, collaboration and most importantly adjusting to the consumer lifestyle.


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?