Omnichannel Nirvana


This is a guest post by Scott Koegler

It seems we’ve been talking about omnichannel selling for a long time now. Maybe it’s only been the last 5 years or so that the topic has risen to the level of certified buzzword, but for the majority of consumers who shop online, it’s been a very long 5 years… and even at that, has yet to deliver on their expectations.

Forrester’s study for Accenture and hybris looks at the gap between what retail customers want or expect from their shopping experiences, and what retailers are currently delivering. To say that they’ve identified a gap would be an understatement – and neither the customers nor the retailers can really be blamed.

Consumers don’t see the disjointed technology behind the retailer, and they don’t care that it exists. The retail consumer expects to find the same products in the store, in a printed catalog, and online. They see no line between the different delivery channels. A common expectation is that they can place an order online and pick the item up at the store. In fact, the report says that a full 50% of consumers expect this kind of capability from their retailers. And that follows from their other expectation held by a full 71% that they should be able to view all in-store inventory online. With these kinds of expectations it’s no wonder customers are disappointed by their multichannel shopping expectations – even though the word ‘multichannel’ is nowhere to be found in their vocabulary.

What do retail shoppers want? Aside from price, they want FAST delivery. Our desire for instant gratification is well documented. And when all shopping was the in-store kind, retailers played on that by packing the checkout lines with impulse buys. So that we consumers were able to go to the store, pick up what we wanted and walk out with it – plus a few more goodies.