5 Expert Tips on Becoming OmnichannelMeriem Alami
Becoming omnichannel is currently on the to-do list for companies in almost every industry. We have asked one of our own experts to explain what it means to become omnichannel and why business transformation is so important.
Joy works as a Strategy Director and has been part of the Emakina.NL team since 2017. She has worked on projects for ECCO, INTERSPORT, OMRON, Moooi and FrieslandCampina.
Why Omnichannel is the way to go…
The way the digital environment is changing has to a great extent do with the people who act in it. We currently have the first generation of true digital natives entering the workplace and with them, the expectations around user experiences have risen. Customers want a seamless experience. If a user watches a movie on the go and wants to finish at home, they want all their devices to know where they left off. Thus, the challenge brands are facing in the coming years, is to create seamless experiences by switching to omnichannel, virtually but increasingly also in stores and other offline touchpoints.
Many brands still work in a multichannel ecosystem, where it is common to work in silos, in isolation from every other department. With an omnichannel approach all barriers disappear, which creates the chance to engage with a customer that comes to the store through other mediums as well and offer them a seamless experience.
A considerable amount of companies that enter the marketplace nowadays are social first. They don’t have a webshop or an offline experience to offer. Legacy companies on the other hand, who have been comparatively protective of their brand assets need to prepare for a substantial change. They need to enter the digital marketplace with a strong and convincing personality.
While there is no playbook for becoming omnichannel, we have created some helpful tips to keep in mind along the way.
Tip 1: Creating Trust
Until now there was a tendency in the market, to make a sale and to gain customers trust through that interaction. If the product and after-care service was good enough, the expectation was that they would trust the brand and return. Nowadays, in the digital native environment, trust has to be gained first. People are doing their research online before they actually make a decision about buying, it is thus very important to create a seamless experience across all channels.
Tip 2: Make It Seamless
Most companies nowadays are present in the digital spectrum, they have a webshop and multiple social media channels. Many are also integrating their offline experience of the stores online. Brands allow users to buy online and do returns in the shop. The next level after this, would be to have all customer data available across all channels. If I am a regular customer that goes to the shop and I need an invoice, I want that invoice to be readily printed with all my details correctly, without having to repeat information I have already provided online. When we think even further and consider digital natives again, they are not going to go straight to the shop anymore. They will do all their research online. Thus, the challenge is finding ways to engage digital natives in the shops too. Just placing a charging station in a shop, can already be a way to nudge them to engage with the shop assistant and with the product itself.
Tip 3: Transform
While big transformations can be daunting to any brand, brands with a large legacy really need to be ready to take on the challenge. New brands that are entering the digital landscape don’t have legacy systems that need to be transformed to become omnichannel. It gets more difficult when brands have a long legacy and history that is built on a multichannel strategy. Such companies must ask themselves how they can integrate their brand across all channels, so the channels can be used most effectively. The goal is to be open for an all encompassing transformation of systems and people.
Tip 4: Change Starts From Within
Most legacy companies are struggling with the same issue; a lack of internal organization, which also causes a lack of integration of data across the different channels. The longer a company has accumulated data, the more likely that the data is polluted in some way. Such companies need to invest a substantial amount of time into revamping their internal systems or sometimes into replacing them completely to support the omnichannel experience. When switching from working in segregated silos to omnichannel, the first thing to do is to deconstruct those silos. By becoming an agile organization and removing departments that are working in isolation and working toward replacing them with multi-disciplinary teams. Agility means to move quick and easy hence teams need empowerment and mandate to work efficiently, adaptively and also independently.
Tip 5: Follow (some) Rules
Embracing change sometimes sounds like embracing chaos but that does not have to be the case. In an agile way of working, there are disciplined ways to complete change and to stay open to new opportunities simultaneously. It is extremely important to have the proper basics in place, the best practice is to have a transition plan at hand that covers budget, research and governance and is based on very detailed and disciplined yet adaptive way of working.
The bottom line is…
Omnichannel is quickly becoming the new normal and while change can feel chaotic, transforming your business does not have to be. With these tips, it can be a very rewarding process!
Want to know more?
If you would like to join a client session about this topic, or if you would like to discuss other prevalent topics, please feel free to connect with our team.