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Omnichannel world. What is it?

There was a time when we - a small team of digital marketers - had put together a cyber boutique, a first in India, which had collections from fashion designers and aimed to sell to the US/UK market. There was no eCommerce back then. Just Commerce. Someone would see the dress, send an email and enable that transaction to happen in offline.

That was then.

Today there are hundred reasons we surf the Internet for. We interact with brands, tell them our requirements.. even stories and express them in our own ways. As we tell brands about our unique stories we hope they can address us individually. We expect them to know if I am gluten allergic or if I dont like a particular style or if I buy certain things in a particular way.

Omnichannel means a consumer can expect to be connected to a brand with the same experience, irrespective of the channel. It could be a website, or an app or a physical store. Apart from several other benefits, the chances of the consumer to spend more with that brand increases.

Brands have some hard work to do to extract the value from an Omnichannel approach. They have to get their back-end integrated so they can provide a consistent experience to their consumers. Secondly they have to get experts who understand the dynamics of all these channels. Lastly, good sense of data and how to use when it comes to consumers changing behaviour across these channels, is crucial.

In today's hyper connected world that we live in, and with the consumer’s high expectations it is actually more damaging not to have an Omnichannel approach.

A brand needs to rethink on several fronts. It needs a partner who can provide full range of capabilities. The consumer pathway today is fragmented and broken into multiple journeys with no single path to purchase, with consumers using multiple channels to navigate.

Consumers flock to new channels esp with the smartphone penetration and increasing time spent on social media. Omnichannel gives an opportunity for the brands to re look at their old channels, esp websites which may be losing consumers and hence business. Even with a website every aspect of a consumers navigation and their experience has to be brought upto speed. Consumers' Omnichannel data provides new insights and ensures companies keep their advantage. Brands continue to break consumers into smaller and smaller niche clusters and then can build better communication.

Eventually Omnichannel is going to be something no brand can afford to miss. It will be aimed at providing value to consumers at every touchpoint. This helps in the following key ways:

1]. Gives a unified view of the consumer. Brands can see their consumers' entire transaction history across channels, which can provide them substantial advantage.

2]. Every consumer’s touch point can become an opportunity to personalise a brand’s message

3]. The ability to act on a consumer moment, touch point or interaction becomes strong

4]. Unmatched insights on the consumers behaviour

IDC’s 2015 report said Omnichannel shoppers have a 30% more Lifetime value than others. That says it all.

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