In order for retailers to successfully navigate the change that seems to have been washing over the retail market in waves these retailers must develop what I would call a process of improvement.  This process would provide the framework that allows the retailer to review, evaluate and then react to the changes in the marketplace in a manner that addresses the change while still maintaining the framework of the retail processes.  Retailers must first define the process to followed to evaluate and implement change before they begin reacting to change so that the change can be addressed in a manner that effectively meets the challenge while maintaining the framework of the retailer’s market strategy.  The process of improvement is about how the retailer incorporates change into the framework and not about the change itself.

 

The process of improvement will define the method that the retailer reacts to change and disruption in the market and will allow the retailer to incorporate change in a manner that supports the change while also integrating with the retailer market framework.  The process of improvement allows the retailer to react and incorporate change into their model more quickly and efficiently to allow theme to stay maintain their relationship with customers and maintain market share.  The process of improvement must not be implemented as a rigid procedure that limits change, rather it must be implemented as a model to eliminate the rigidity of the retailer framework.

 

This process requires a commitment from the retailer to focus on process and flexibility which requires that the retailer’s framework be built upon a collaborative and flexible foundation of processes that support the quick and efficient integration when change is required.  This is no easy feat to implement and will require that the retailer focus on standard integration practices and Internet based capabilities that allow the retailer to focus on objectives and process, allowing and encouraging the retailer to focus on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’.  This is critical to implementing a framework that supports the retail market for a long time to come.

 

The larger retailers have spent the better part of the last two or three years acquiring and implementing new capabilities as ‘bolt on’ type features and now must turn their focus to process definition and implementation to incorporate these features into a flexible and robust retail framework that focuses on process rather than channel.  When this process of improvement framework is defined the retailer must then focus on the tools that are part of the framework and used to support the changing demands from consumers on the retailer.

 

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?