A Look Into the Crystal Ball: What is Holding Omnichannel Back?
We asked five industry experts what is holding back omnichannel.
The main challenge today is the legacy of disparate internal business systems and lack of single view of customers, inventory and attribution. There are significant business transitions and costs that need to be in place at the ground-level before retailers can truly become omnichannel.
There are two main issues: the first is organizational, and the second is about defining clear priorities in terms of customers and the technology roadmap.
There is no shortage of solutions which can help, but the way boards are structured creates silos and this often creates problems for the internal roadmap. This is probably the biggest problem right now, actually.
Marks & Spencer
Organisational structure is still a significant barrier. Many retailers are organised by function or channel and are therefore not set up to deliver joined-up customer experiences.
Also, many organisations do not have a framework to measure customer experience, as well as a toolset that enables experience tracking across all touchpoints in a consistent, meaningful way. With a measurement framework in place, companies can ensure that different parts of the organization have goals and targets that drive improvements to customer experience in a controlled way.
The biggest challenge is connecting the customer experience across multiple channels to provide transparency and consistency to the end consumer.
Typically, this will be caused by two major factors. Firstly, antiquated internal systems and technology – often set up originally to specifically support a single channel – that now need to be integrated between all channels and on all customer brand touchpoints.
I believe that the key challenge is really in the mindset and culture, and it’s an area which surprisingly few retailers take into account.
How do we influence and change established behaviour? How can we change the channel focused mindset that has been around for many years? Knowing the answers to these questions would help retailers greatly accelerate their ability to provide an omnichannel experience.
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