Consumers now are searching for transparency in their interactions with with retailers and the entire extended supply to allow them to meet and react to their lifestyle.  This requires collaboration across all participants in the extended supply chain to allow consumers, retailers and the extended supply chain partners to understand and react to the changes in the consumer interactions.  The extended collaboration and increased engagement within and across all aspects of the consumer relationship is the new challenge for retailers and unfortunately this is also the most difficult challenge because of the velocity of changes and types of changes resulting from the consumer embrace of technology and WiFi capabilities.  These changing expectations and demands from consumers will drive the marketplace now for some time to come and retailers cannot afford to ignore the changing demands.

 

Retailers must fight their general tendency, especially for the large legacy retailers, to follow the lead and wait for the change to settle.  The reason for this is simple; the change in this case will not settle and will continuously build upon yesterday’s changes to create new experiences and shopping interactions.  The consumer in this case is searching for information and integration with the retailer and this search will continuously change to react to both consumer needs and also the extensions of technology to enhance the interactions and bring a more personalized interaction with consumers.  This requires a general increase in retailer transparency as its related to the shopping experience and the product usage and capabilities. 

 

Retailers must change their practices now to focus on consumer collaboration and engagement in order to meet the consumer changing demands.  Consumers are searching now for transparency in their interaction and relationships with retailers and this transparency has traditionally been a challenge for retailers.  Retailers have traditionally focused on control and exclusivity whereas today the exclusivity has been dramatically curtailed as a result of the expanded retail market resulting from Internet sales.  Control was one of the first aspects in the retailer to consumer relationship that was eliminated through the Internet and it seems that the large legacy retailers have been attempting to regain the lost control ever since. 

 

Consumers are searching for transparency in their interactions with retailers and this provides a means to develop and enhance the relationship with consumers.  Success in the retail marketplace will rely on the relationships developed and encouraged over time between retailers and consumers. The means and glue that will hold these relationships together is the transparency that is developed through enhanced collaboration and engagement with and between consumers, the retailers and the entire extended supply chain.

 

You will notice that I do not mention exclusivity in this discussion on consumer relationships and transparency and this is because there is really no place in this new retail marketplace for the controls and limitations to consumers that would be required for exclusivity.  In my opinion, transparency in relationships with consumers leaves no room for controls and limitations in the relationships. Consumers demand collaboration and engagement with retailers to develop a mutually beneficial relationship and this relationship provides the basis for the enhanced retail marketplace.