So what is Omni-Channel? While there is much discussion on the web, the full meaning can be unclear.
The first problem is how to spell it; Omni-Channel, Omni Channel and Omnichannel all seem to be acceptable ways to spell it based on what you find on the internet. The second problem is what is an Omni Channel?
- A way of doing business?
- A software product?
- A certain kind of supply chain?
- A business strategy?
The answer is all of the above. Unfortunately this probably doesn’t help clear up your understanding of Omni-Channel so let’s try again.
The best definition of Omni-Channel I’ve seen is actually a combination of two different definitions;
1. “The drive for audience engagement through a seamless consumer/customer experience”, and another that’s pretty good but seems to be targeted more at the retail marketplace: 2. “A multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store”.
So the common bond for virtually all definitions of Omni-Channel is giving the customer the power to interact seamlessly with the seller in whatever way the customer chooses. But it doesn’t stop there… That’s just getting the customer to your sales channel(s) to have them review the product(s) they wish to purchase. The next step, and most important step is; how do you get them to buy YOUR product, vs the competition?
Using a retail example may help because everyone buys from a retailer at some time. So you find the product you want and you enter that product into the search engine on your computer to find where/how you can make the purchase. Let’s say many of the big retailers have the same product; Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Why do you buy the product from one vs. the other? Boiled down, there’s 3 reasons a person buys the exact same product from one source or the other; speed of delivery, price, or convenience (closest location).