The omnichannel revolution is user centered

by Alex Anderson on 31 August 2012

Omnichannel is a word I have seen bandied around the internet with increasing frequency over the last few months, but what is it and where did it come from? Well, omnichannel marketing is an evolution of multichannel marketing; multichannel marketing (or retailing) being the use of various different marketing channels to reach a customer.

Given a cursory glance this definition seems remarkably similar to omnichannel given they both use the same marketing channels, omnichannel does not expand on multichannel in that sense. So whats the difference? One article rightly described the difference as being about "awareness, consistency, and tracking". Simply, the difference lies in the user experience and the fact that omnichannel is a user centered concept and multichannel is not.

Consumers no longer use just one channel to make a purchase or research a company, they might use two or even three simultaneously. For example, it is common for someone to be at a brick and mortar store and using their phones at the same time.

This poses a problem, one which big retailers are starting to notice, the user experience between all these channels needs to be singular for the best results, hence omnichannel. "Every marketeer needs to move beyond guessing at cross-channel digital ROI and start building a holistic understanding of the consumer behavior path." Marketeers need to appreciate and design a single customer experience and not only make it good but seamless across all channels. Some ways of doing this,  in a retail sense, are:

  • Mobile equipped store associates
  • Digital content linked to store inventory
  • Cross channel order fulfillment
  • Mobile POS (points of sale)

We are very interested in omnichannel strategies, so much so we are holding a series of free & exclusive roundtables on the subject this October. We would love to hear your opinions on the matter and if you want to discuss omnichannel in detail with some great brands and our UX consultants then go ahead and apply for a ticket.                

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