Retail shopping has gotten more complicated over the recent years as a result of the expanded shopping and purchasing channels, technology, including wireless network technology, and most importantly the social network capabilities.  These new capabilities along with the explosion of mobile shopping apps has dramatically increased the number of shopping levers, this is what I call shopping and purchasing options. These levers have grown and expanded to the point now that has created a omni market retail marketplace that eliminates the lines, or silos, between the different purchasing channels.  Consumers have lead the charge in this direction through their embrace of the technology to explore capabilities and then utilize the new capabilities.

 

This consumer embrace of technology is the lever that is the most critical to the ability of retailers to meet the changing market and consumer demands.  This technology lever is also the most powerful lever for consumers to drive change into the retail market. When looking across the retail landscape you can see many of the key challenges and failures for retailers have been, and continue to be, driven by technology and especially when this technology is also embraced and driven by online retailers such as Amazon and and mobile technologies.  These changes are disruption because of the continuous level of iterative small changes that build on each other. This iterative and continuous change process is the key to success and a key lever of failure for many retailers.

 

Retailers have begun to recognize the importance of this practice on their business capabilities and success drivers and also have been struggling to catch up and maintain the pace of change.   You see this from the level and speed of acquisitions and capabilities supported by retailers. This is a key to the future and success of the retailers and it will be interesting to follow the results of this drive and the endurance of the large legacy retailers to maintain the pace of change. 

 

I believe that in order for retailers to maintain the pace it also requires a change in leadership culture and focus to maintain the pace.  There is a great deal of history examples where the retail market experiences a disruption that results in changes from the retail leaders to incorporate the disruption and move forward.  In this case though the disruption is more the change process and velocity than what the change delivers. This is the most interesting and challenging lever after all is said and done, the disruption in not an event but a process of change and retailers must change their own internal shopping and purchasing levers to increase flexibility and most importantly the ability to sense the changes.

 

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?