Consumers are following their own shopping and purchasing process model that they have developed over years of trial and error with tools and technology to interact with and across the retail market.  Consumers are not hiding the fact that they have been defining and redefining their shopping and purchasing process models over the years and they have also been open about their willingness and eagerness to collaborate with other consumers and mobile app developments to enhance and extend their shopping and purchasing capabilities. Retailers must now focus on extending their relationship with consumers and capabilities to enhance and extend relationships with consumers.  The key to consumer loyalty is engagement and relationships and retailers must first understand and support the consumer process model in order to engage and develop the personal relationship.

 

The gaming world has shown the viability and strength of virtual relationships and the millennial generation growth now in the retail marketplace is driving the extension of virtual relationships to extend the shopping and purchasing consumer process model.  Again, though consumers are not shy about sharing their demands and with the extension of the virtual relationship along with the consumer shopping data available as a result of online shopping there is really no excuse for retailers to incorporate the practices and the information available into their practices.  I have been promoting the importance of consumer collaboration for quite some time so this is not a new revelation, however the tools to support and engage have been steadily increasing as a result of new developments and practices of millennials in the market. 

 

Retailers have realized the importance of technology to support consumer shopping and they have been adding and improving capabilities now to support the consumer shopping and purchasing and most importantly they have been extending these tools into the brick and mortar stores to enhance consumer support in the store and extend purchasing opportunities.  This is a great first step to support consumer demands and enhance the product search and purchase for consumers in the stores without increasing the clerks in the stores. 

 

These tools have enhances the in-store shopping and purchasing experience however they are still cold and impersonal and do nothing to enhance and create a relationship with the consumer, this activity is still dependent on the human interaction for retailers.  Online retailers, especially Amazon, have focused on developing the personal relationship with consumers and have embraced and supported the consumer process model to encourage the growth of these relationships.  This practice has been missing from the large legacy retailers’ practices because of their culture that has focused on the physical market and their focus on cost management.  The growth of millennials and growth of the technology now requires these retailers extend their focus to engage consumers in the virtual market and most importantly develop the virtual relationship.  This is where the need to understand and support the consumer process model comes into play and importance.  Retailers must first understand and support the process to develop the relationships.

 

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?