Artificial Intelligence and robots have been embraced by consumers to support their shopping and purchasing demands and as a result these tools are changing the face of shopping and purchasing in the retail omni market.  Many sites have implemented checks to ensure access and activities are engaged by humans rather than robots. The large legacy retailers seem to have been focused on their operational capabilities and services rather than the automated side of the equation and I think this is simply a reaction to the changes in the marketplace and their need to keep up with the velocity change.  Consumers, on the other hand, have embraced AI and the capabilities of the tools to support their changing lifestyles. 


The face these changes now are based on the assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant and these tools have grown in prominence since the consumer embrace of the related home tools and mobile phone apps.  These tools and apps seem to have left the large legacy retailers out of this loop of a connected consumer and the related retailers and this vice squeeze is just increasing as the capabilities of these home tools and mobile apps increase.  These assistants are providing consumers with an easy means of coordinating their shopping and purchasing for all aspects of their lives. This drive for integration and support of consumer lifestyle has been lead by the Amazon Alexa offerings.  This is really no surprise because Amazon has been a leader in consumer shopping and purchasing since starting and their influence on the marketplace has only grown. The assistant tools also allows Amazon to expand across all channels of the marketplace with a goal of expanding their omni market presence and influence.    


Consumers must be very careful with their use of these tools because of the ability of hackers to use these tools to gain access to their personal information for identity theft.  I am sure that everyone has heard the horror and humor stories related to Alexa where TVs activate and initiate purchases or the appliance starts laughing eerily. These are interesting asides that should alert the consumer to the requirement to be careful with the information shared and stored on these devices.  Unfortunately, while these tools definitely make shopping and entertainment dramatically easier for consumers as these consumers share more information and the tools collect information from the consumer usage, these increased comfort level of consumers in sharing this information also increases the risk of theft.  In order to counter the risk consumers must augment their use of assistants and robots with a strong identity protection tool.


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?