It is well documented that consumer expectations and what satisfies consumers has forever changed. The consumers’ perspective has evolved from 2012 as follows:

2012:  Requiring companies to meet consumer promises at reduced costs
2013:  Companies being consumer driven
2014:  Giving consumers what we think they need
2015:  Companies being consumer centric
2016:  Understanding the consumers buying journey
2017:  Giving consumers what they need – collaboration

Going forward companies will be required to anticipate consumers’ needs and truly collaborate with them to provide satisfaction.  This requires attention to the details and data that drives sales, whether in the store or online.

The new model for meeting consumers’ needs has broadened and now includes the Six C’s of Centricity:

  • Cost – Consumers are using eCommerce to find the best deals.  Cost is still a very important part of the buying equation.
  • Category – Providing a unique selection of products including new private labels and brands.
  • Culture – A complicated mix of interactions with consumers, how they wanted to be touched from social media, to personalization, and demand generation.
  • Convenience – Making the buying experience effortless, seamless, and fast.
  • Channels – Utilizing new concepts to reach consumers where they live, from pop-up stores, to convenience stores, to service centers.
  • Collaboration – Helping consumers meet their goals with products and services they might not have recognized themselves.

The whole concept of collaboration in the supply chain has evolved.  Twenty years ago, collaboration was between companies to ensure their supply chain links worked together as a chain.  Ten years ago, collaboration meant processes worked together in unison.  In 2016 collaboration became a business model used by companies to achieve supply chain success.  Now companies are using collaboration to help consumers meet their goals for products and services.  Only through collaboration are consumers really getting what they want from the marketplace.

In a few short years consumers have evolved in untold ways.  Companies who will succeed, with these new consumers’ needs, are those flexible enough to evolve with them.  Retail success in the good old days (meaning before 2012) is irrelevant.  The here and now demands innovative processes and business models to meet the challenges of today’s consumer.

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Bruce Tompkins
Bruce Tompkins

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