As David Schneider, supply chain consultant, founder of We Are The Practitioners –David K. & Schneider Company LLC and author of Roadmap 2.0’s section on consumers noted in a previous article about consumer demographics, “Consumers are the ultimate disruptor to supply chains and to commerce between now and 2030.”
Along with generational changes and the convergence of business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) buying habits, the concept of “one-size-fits-all” is dead, says Schneider.
“Retailers can no longer stock one item and expect it to sell to everyone in the same way. I’m not talking about mass customization either. Consumers are going to want different value propositions,” he explains. “By that I mean a buyer doesn’t necessarily want a different shoe—they want the shoe packaged and delivered in a different way.”
In fact, Schneider believes that consumers will be more likely to make a purchasing decision based on the ability to select options that decrease their effort and time in selecting and buying a product rather than basing their choice on who has the item at the lowest price.
“Consumers used to think about cost first. Now they think in terms of full landed cost, including the effort it takes them to buy and receive the product,” he continues.
With the ubiquity of mobile devices and consumers’ willingness to let those devices share details about their precise physical location, Schneider says supply chains will have to invest in technologies and last-mile delivery services that allow them to personalize logistics.
“Now consumers have become a moving target, and the key customization is how can you, retailer, get the item to me wherever I’m going to be standing at a specific time. Don’t deliver to my house—because I won’t be there during the day and I’m concerned about theft—but deliver to my phone,” he says.
“That’s a scary proposition but it’s going to happen, and it’s utterly disruptive to what we do today in material handling and in logistics,” Schneider concludes. “What’s going to enable that is a retailer’s ability to leverage technology, data and systems to manage the process flexibly and quickly in order to keep those customers happy and coming back.”
Want to learn more about the intersection of consumers, technology, logistics and supply chain between now and 2030? Download the free Roadmap 2.0 report here.