There can be no question any more that consumers have used technology and network capabilities to take control of their shopping and purchasing practices.  As a related and important additional aspect of these changes consumers are also building and extending virtual relationship capabilities with retailers to enhance their shopping and purchasing.  These extensions of virtual relationships are a direct result of the growth of millennials in the market and their comfort in technology and the virtual world.  These changes and the continuous manner of the combination of changes will only increase in the market and drive further retail disruption that must be accounted for by the large legacy retailers in order to survive and maintain their position in the market.  Retailers must realize that the end game for consumers is relationships and each of actions across and omnipresent virtual network

 

Just as the technology has caught up with consumer demands for shopping purchasing, the virtual relationship capabilities are also going to drive another level and type of disruption in the marketplace.  These changes are driven by a ‘push me / pull you’ process of consumer demands meeting retailer capabilities and leapfrogging each other to create new blends of capabilities.  We have been seeing this process enacted over that last few years across the marketplace between legacy retailers, online retailers such as Amazon and consumers driven by expectations and demands from the increasing numbers of millennials in the retail market. 

 

Amazon has been in the forefront of the virtual shopping marketplace disrupting the market and rolling over retailers for years and with the expansion of millennials in the market the level and type of disruption is only increasing.  Amazon has been working for years on consumer relationships through things such as product reviews and also using consumers to respond to consumer questions themselves.  This, admittedly, was a small start but even that start has introduced dramatic change in the market.

 

Millennials are the kinetic force that will drive the next wave of disruption in the market with extensions and expansions of the virtual relationships. This will drive technology utilization and usage across the marketplace to extend virtual relationships.  This will engage gaming technology to create a virtual environment for shopping and purchasing that will open new demands for virtual modeling and views of products, including the ability to try products.  The virtual relationships will introduce new consumer controls and demands in the marketplace that will drive technology and require dramatic increases in technology investments by retailers to meet the demands.

 

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?