We are living in an era of convergence. Technology, like an accomplished surgeon who sutures down to a fine art, is fusing heterogeneous concepts to give us a unified and uninterrupted experience on numerous fronts. The same story is being played on the retail stage. An Accenture report gives credence to this fact. According to it, about 50% of shoppers believe that seamless integration of multifarious retail conduits is the most vital tactic retailers can apply to make shopping more gratifying. But, there are laggards, Johnny-come-latelies, oh-I-am-not-so-confident, what’s-that-omni-all-about, buddy-you-need-moolah-to-do-that, we-have-lack-of-relevant-data and such other tribes of retailers who still have not/ are planning to have a rendezvous with omnichannel marketing. It’s clear that reasons fettering retailers from boarding the omnichannel bus (or may be hypersonic jet, for the speed at which it’s changing retail) are thick on the ground. Here’s a list of three top inhibitors for omni-channel success:
- Data, data and data: To remain omni-competent on every channel, retailers must have the solid backing of customer data. For most of the enterprises (nearly 86%, according to a combined report unveiled by the CMO Club and Visual IQ, Inc.) that are struggling with omnichannel marketing, shopper interaction data is missing. Even if the data is obtainable, it is scattered across notoriously guarded “data silos” within the organizations. So, retailers haven’t got the ghost of a chance of retrieving and converting the data into useful insights.
- Need for advanced attribution: Sophisticated marketing attribution tools serve as the backbone of omnichannel marketing. Firms scoring low to very low on the technology scale have a hard row to hoe when it comes to implementing the omnichannel strategy. In this connection, another disincentive that punctures an organization’s omnichannel dream is the dearth of employees having the required expertise to install and subsequently keep a vigilant eye on the workings of these smart algorithms. It is not an exaggeration to say that in an omnichannel environment, a pan-enterprise inventory visibility makes the world go round for retailers. If the customers don’t get what they crave for at the right moment, everything else will be meaningless. Only advanced attribution platforms have the power to stamp out stock related bottlenecks.
- Integrating analytics, data, and channels: Incapability of retailers to set up key performance indicators and appraise the performance of each individual point of shopper contact creates a problem in the works. Like solo performance, it is also imperative to analyze how channels fare against each other. Astonishingly, some retailers are fuddy-duddy in their approach to measure performance; they use vague and obsolete methods. Parameters built using latest techniques are the way out, as it will eventually lead practitioners of retail to a performance-driven and scalable omnichannel ecosystem.
With the advent of omni-channel marketing, those invisible lines that used to compartmentalize different channels have vanished in a puff of smoke. Shoppers are gliding from one channel to another instantaneously, as if channels have transformed into an indestructible whole. They are touching all possible touch-points, be it online, offline, or mobile, with missionary zeal. Retailers who have successfully fitted the omni-channel boom box with their marketing acoustics and producing the same melodious tones across channels are doing salsa with the customers.