It seems as though the overall goal for a true omnichannel business model is so daunting in scope that it’s paralyzing retailers.
But since omnichannel capabilities are necessary not only to succeed, but also to survive in retail today and tomorrow, retailers need to change their plan of attack. After all, you can’t hit your target if you’re aiming at the sky.
Instead of viewing the task as one big battle, retailers need to start by adding one building block at a time.
The first, and most important, building block is achieving a single view of your customers and discovering how your customers currently interact and would like to interact with your brand. This is the biggest building block to set, but it’s also the one that will supply the greatest benefit as it’s the foundation for a true omnichannel organization.
Achieving a single view of your customer that encompasses relevant data from all channels allows you to make data-driven decisions for the rest of your retail operations – from real estate and marketing to merchandising and operations.
The caveat here is that the majority of retailers still live in a world filled with siloed legacy systems that were created independently to support specific channels.
Retailers need to stop treating call centers, e-commerce, mobile, catalogs and brick and mortar stores as different channels. In order to do that, however, retailers need to implement the right analytical solution which will easily pull and analyze all the relevant customer information that’s living within each channel’s database.
When the data is combined, you’ll not only be able to see a unified view of your customers, but also to understand their habits, preferences and attitudes – allowing you to easily start adding other omnichannel building blocks such as:
- Identifying which channels are preferred by which customers
- Personalizing advertising messages and promotions
- Targeting potential customers that look like your best customers to grow your customer base
- Optimizing your media mix
- Aligning your merchandise mix to consumer demand
But it’s important to remember to take one small bite at a time and build on each of your successes. Decisions can no longer be based on gut feelings, they need to be made based off of hard data.
The Bottom Line
Achieving omnichannel success requires understanding that the digital and physical sides of the organization should complement each other, not compete with each other, and that all departments should synchronize their efforts based on a single view of the customer.
It also requires a long-term plan that’s been broken down into small, realistic building blocks that are focused on your customer.
And while the road to omnichannel seems daunting, technology and analytical tools can accelerate the development of a single customer view and the execution of cross-functional omnichannel capabilities.
If you need help creating a unified view of your customers and developing a customized omnichannel strategy, let’s talk today.