I was recently reading a post shared on Twitter and it felt like the Omni channel is being used for e-commerce.The Omni Channel is a popular buzz in retail and ecommerce games. But this should happen more often than it should be thrown out. (Millennium! One and one, right!)

So, is omni channel a system? 

Does Omni Channel involve people? Process change? Or there is a definite framework for what an Omni channel can and should achieve.

Let’s understand and simplify ‘Omni Channel’:

Omni channel is nothing but integration, process and uneven experiences of channels. What are the channels? Channels are different means by which businesses reach and serve customers, or customers reach a brand. Channels are classified into various shapes / sizes – such as format, form factor, direct, indirect, physical, virtual, etc.

Earlier companies mainly transacted through shops or indirect method (calling, printed medium). A small partition to run your website. A separate department to look after its customer. Marketing and sales were also different. Therefore, while each department had finished its work, these departments worked in silos, which had nothing in common. Their approach to their ‘target’ customer- demographics, customer needs, etc. will all be different. This means that, the customer experience varied depending on where and with whom the customer had transacted.

But where was the problem? The point was that over time, these departments, systems became far away from each other, carrying out their ‘works’.

If you, as a customer, went to a store, the price of that item was different from online, but the store manager never wanted you to be out of stock. If you have called customer service, they do not know about your order that you placed online. If you have purchased a product online, you cannot dream of returning that product to the store. Originally, all channels acted like different companies. The problem was for a customer because he was still working with the same brand. Therefore, in perspective:

The brand did not provide valuable information about customer usageThere was redundancy and wastage of information / assets by the brandFor the customer, channel conflict meant a poor customer experience

So how has ‘Omni Channel’ changed it?

The Omni Channel believes that the customer and its brand experience comes first. Different channels are not different companies, but they should be seen as different elements of the same brand that work together towards serving the customer. The advantage is that this behavior is comfortable for customers – it is what they expect it to be.

The Omni channel assumes that the customer can be anywhere.

The customer can use an Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone, work computer, personal computer and more devices and share his profile. The customer can also go to the store, or interact with a chat agent or make a call. Therefore any strategy that a retailer employs should facilitate a seamless relationship of the brand to its customers.

Is there a definite qualification for being an omni channel?

Therefore, omni channel means not everyone constructs the same rule set, scenario or experience. Experiences are based on your customers and your business model.

Departure point

Here’s how to find a starting point for yourself. Create a matrix to capture your strategy:(Lines) channels through which your customer connects, or you reach your customers – stores, e-commerce sites, marketing campaigns, print catalogs, customer care.

This should help you get started. You can refine it more as you dive deeper

Step 1:   For this matrix, you need to be able to think properly about what you are doing today. For example, when it comes to your marketing in stores, eCommerce and other channels, do you have centralized information? Are you able to reuse the property? Are you sending a unified message to your customers or are you confusing the customer?

Step 2:   Pin this matrix to a white board and define what you should change to make it better? Where is the most bang for the buck? What are the least hanging fruits? Email campaign will be easier to deal with than changing store signageWell, with that, this is a wrap on this article. I hope you find it useful and begin with defining your strategy. If you have any ideas, don’t miss penning them in the comments section.