I can remember when the three founders of Joylab first encountered the term ‘omnichannel’. Eyes were rolled and tongues clicked at the emergence of yet another buzzword. People were just getting their heads round the idea of multichannel but here was something Bigger. More world-changing. More, well, Omni.
Joylab works at the intersection of design, technology and marketing so we’re subjected to more buzzwords per day than is strictly healthy. Nevertheless, this one is clearly important. The best articulation of why that I’ve seen is on Wikipedia. It goes like this:
“Omnichannel is the evolution of multichannel, but is concentrated on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available channels. Instead of perceiving a variety of touchhpoints as part of the same brand, omnichannel lets consumers experience the brand, not individual channels within the brand.” [source: Wikipedia]
Multichannel: This is where most brands are now, executing with varying degrees of sophistication.
Omnichannel: This is where only the very best and smartest hang out. These guys are going to be the winners.
Most brands seem awake to the fact that Omnichannel is ‘the future’ but as far as consumers are concerned it’s ‘right now’. Amongst the people I know and talk to they already make the assumption that brands will behave consistently regardless of whether they go online, walk in to a store or pick up the phone. To put it bluntly, it’s an expectation not a benefit.
Speed is of the essence because the pace of change has upped – established sectors get disrupted overnight and slow transformation makes ‘too big too fail’ businesses irrelevant with alarming regularity. The world is on fast-forward and it’s probably going to stay that way. So what to do about it?
Digital is the connective tissue that runs through the omnichannel experience. This should be good news for large organisations, after all digital is fast-to-market, collects data at every touchpoint and genuinely enables personalisation. Right?
Well apparently not. Not if you’re above a certain size anyway.
In theory, design of the touchpoints of omnichannel experience should have massive organisational focus. Interaction design, live data capture, realtime personalisation. These are the new language of brand.
The problem is that enterprises are powered by large technology platforms that are usually expensive to work with so you have to have a very compelling business case to change anything. In our experience this is the single biggest blocker to experimentation and innovation. So what to do? Give me solutions, not problems I hear you say.
OK. Here are some resources:
- There are four key skillsets you need to develop in-house or buy in to get innovation consistently rolling.
- Tools like Qubit allow you to experiment in live scenarios without having to redevelop your existing platform. This can allow you to build the business case for capital investment.
- Joylab has developed a methodology for rapid in-house R&D, published with Econsultancy. Download the full report here (paid for non-members) or get the free digest version.
Drop us a line if you have a specific problem, happy to chat or bounce ideas.