March 8, 2017

Omnichannel Becomes a Way of Life


Omnichannel is morphing from a business strategy to a way of doing business. That’s the conclusion of Retail Insight: Moving Beyond Omnichannel, a report published by Retail Systems Research (RSR).

RSR is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. For five years, RSR has surveyed retailers to assess their progress in adopting omnichannel strategies. The 2017 report reveals that retailers are trying to make omnichannel a way of life.

“Omnichannel is becoming a matter of course — shifting from a specific strategy to something that drives the entire business,” according to the report. “The industry needs to move beyond omnichannel — and quite frankly — toward however the customer wants to shop.”

The report notes that consumers expect omnichannel to be the norm, with consumers wanting a unified experience across all online/offline touchpoints. But retailers face challenges embracing omnichannel, including managing inventory, warehouse capacity, and the technology required to provide a seamless consumer experience.

Our take: we are not surprised that omnichannel remains a top-of-mind issue for retailers even though the concept has existed for quite some time. The explosion of mobile technology has dramatically accelerated consumers’ expectations. Consumers want to look for a product on their mobile devices, do a “near me” search to find the closest location, probably pre-order the product, and pick it up with no hassle in the store.

We believe brick-and-mortar businesses can win in a world of omnichannel discovery by setting the right foundation locally. Doing so means first understanding their customers’ journeys – and then by combining data, content, and experiences to create a smooth journey across channels. As we discuss in our own CMO’s Guide to Omnichannel Discovery, succeeding in an omnichannel world requires businesses to:

  • Understand their customers’ journeys by mapping every channel and device people use when conducting “near me” searches, or location-based search queries that contain phrases such as “near me” or “nearby.”
  • Develop an omnichannel location data strategy that makes the brand visible at every touchpoint where micro-moments of decision making occur during near me searches.
  • Create content and experiences that trigger next moments of commerce for the brand, or the action that occurs after someone finds a business through a search. The content and experiences must be appropriate for each channel. A customer experience on Snapchat will look completely different than one on Facebook or on Google.

Not every omnichannel journey is the same for every business. By mapping your customer’s journey and sharing the right kind of content and data appropriate for each touchpoint in the journey, you will increase your chances for succeeding as omnichannel becomes a way of life. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

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