Omnichannel has been talked about for a while but many organizations still can’t seem to connect the dots and realize the return received in branding, revenue and acquisition. Many tools exist to help with that but I find gaps always exist and most organizations want the answer to what are we truly getting from this strategy right now. Being able to run reports to clearly see what you are getting in your digital environment is one thing but how does that translate to offline sales. I am not here to provide all the answers but if organizations focus on three areas then they will get further down the path much quicker. Regardless of the industry, organizations must focus on stakeholder buy in, understanding the lifting involved and the ROI is worth it.
Most organizations hear the buzz and just know they need to tackle this strategy. The big issue here is it changes the way they do business day to day and change is difficult for many that are stuck in their old ways. When I talk about buy in, I mean all key stakeholders need to embrace this strategy, cascade the importance down to their staff and be willing to roll up their sleeves until the proper technology is in place. This is not driven by marketing & eComm teams selling this every day to all other departments but providing all the consumer touch points that exist, the incremental revenue and acquisition that is available and what a seamless customer experience can do in regards to loyalty and exceeding competitive offerings.
Creating an excellent omnichannel experience is heavy lifting to say the least. I hear often people say we have a website with eCommerce, we have brick and mortar locations and our marketing team executes a consistent brand strategy across all channels. Well, that may be true with some but do they understand the LTV of a customer that engages with the brand online and in store? Do they use customer feedback online to create an experience that makes transacting in store easier? Do they literally assign a realistic revenue number for consumers that consumer their digital media and don’t buy online but then absolutely buy at one of their locations? The reason this doesn’t happen early enough is associates involved might have to spend an extra minute on a transaction to understand the customer journey, start actually tracking offline sales in excel or simply understand the difference in assortment online and offline. This requires extra and often manual efforts from all to start this worthwhile journey.
I tell people often to consider omnichannel as another location or buying another business that increases revenue and profitability. After rolling up your sleeves to prove incremental revenue that often is considered gray or even extremely conservative, get buy in to invest in tools that automate operational processes and provide analytics to prove the link between online and offline. This should be taken in baby steps with one tool at a time so the teams can fully optimize the tool and report out incremental benefits that aren’t questioned. After a while, the ability to get approval for other tools, resources and a larger digital marketing spend simply become much easier.
Perfecting an omnichannel strategy is challenging. This requires incremental investments and adds a layer of scope to many positions. With that being said, if key stakeholders take the time to understand the benefits and buy in, are willing to roll up their sleeves to help with the journey and are willing to review ROI in the early stages, then the organization will reap the rewards of higher spending and more loyal customers.