While it may feel like the omni market has revolutionized the retail marketplace these changes have been incubating and growing for a long time to the recent seeming explosion of change and retail disruption. In other words, this seems like a revolution only because retailers have been seen as struggling to maintain share in the omni market in an especially visible manner recently through acquisition and reported focus on the eCommerce channel. Travel through the history of the changes though and it is easy to see that the appearance of revolution is only an appearance and in reality is the culmination of many changes and technology over the last ten years. This is important to the retailers’ plans and strategies for the support of the retail market disruption and provides the roadmap for retailers to build an engaged and collaborative strategy to meet the demands of future evolution.
This perspective of evolution allows retailers to build a framework and structure based on broad collaboration and engagement across the market in order to sense and respond to the changing consumer demands and especially to the changing market demands. The importance of this framework cannot be overstated as a key to the retailers’ ability to act on demands. This framework allows retailers the time to plan and evolve solutions rather than the current practice of waiting for the market leaders to develop the change. It is important to realize that change in the retail market is evolutionary and requires retailers to accept this and implement the changes in both culture and strategy to allow them to evolve with the market and not be left behind.
This change requires a revolution in leadership management strategy to continuously search for the changing demands by both consumers and the retail market and especially market leaders. The retail market has always been made up of leaders and followers. The make-up and number of followers compared to leaders has always been rather large with the market leaders taking the risk and then the followers reacting after the change has been accepted by the market and consumers. I do not think that the ratio of leaders to followers has changed, I think that the time to deliver the change has decreased and this has thrown the followers behind the curve. In other words, the velocity of change in the market has increased and the retail followers have not changed their cycle leaving them further and further behind.
Amazon and similar online retailers have been able to drive this velocity of change because they can make a change in one place and it pushes to the consumers where the larger retailers have a huge infrastructure that increases the cost and difficulty of change. We are seeing the large retailers now reimagining and rebuilding their capabilities now to allow them to sense and respond to the market shifts more efficiently. They now seem to realize the importance of evolution over revolution.
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?