Why omnichannel will die

omnichannelretailWhat is Omnichannel?

The truth is that nobody knows or agrees on a definition. For starters, this is an ominous sign. Some will argue that it is still evolving and that it is therefore understandable that no clear definition exists. But there are many others, software companies and consultants alike, who claim that they not only know exactly what omnichannel means but they have the panacea to make it work and that when it does, dollars will simply roll in. While on the question of dollars, the million dollar question is “what is the benefit to customers and importantly do they want whatever omnichannel claims to offer”?

It all started with multichannel. That buzz word was around for a while until it became passé.   Now it is positively embarrassing to use the multichannel word. If you do, you are branded a Luddite.

Great, so now that we really don’t know what we are talking about, let’s look at some of the commentary.

Omnichannel is about true continuity of your experience”. Hmm… what does that really mean? So let’s try again.

It extends beyond a single brand’s universe”. But we can do far better.

“Omniscient is perceiving and understanding all thingsAnd the best way for a customer to perceive everything is to allow them to own their data and experience, then give them the ability to use it to guide creation and context of every future experience”.

If you are not yet entirely sold on omnichannel, let’s try one last time to convince you.

“The ability to have a continuous experience across brands, across formats and across devices that is completely bespoke – that is the promise of a new way of thinking and marketing that has been long unnoticed”.

The real reason omnichannel will die a slow and gruesome death is that the customers will reject it. Ironically the better omnichannel works, the more intense the rejection will be.

It is dichotomous.

The fact is that as omnichannel communication is used as an excuse to push marketing at shoppers anywhere, everywhere, at any time, shoppers, even loyal customers, will learn to ignore them.

Omnichannel – R.I.P.

Can someone please think up a new buzzword or two to tide us over for the next couple of years?

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at [email protected] or 0414 631 702.

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  1. Avatar

    Brian Walker posted on October 28, 2016

    Hi Stuart Easy - we refer to it as the retailers 'ecosystem" warm regards Brian CEO Retail Doctor Group reply

  2. Avatar

    Melissa posted on October 28, 2016

    Hi Stuart, The headline caught my attention immediately. But then I read the article - can you please clarify your reasons behind your statement that omnichannel is dead? All I got from it was that there are a multitude of definitions for it and it needs a new word or definition. (Personally, I think there are too many words to describe it already). Not sure why this signals its death in practice. In essence - regardless of how you describe it - isn't it just about creating a seamless brand and shopping experience for your customers, regardless of channel or how you achieve that experience? Why would customers reject this? I don't understand. reply

  3. Avatar

    Katherine posted on November 1, 2016

    Hi Stuart Great article. I have to agree with your article. Omni channel will go the same way as many before it f it is just used as a channel to market to customers. Your inbox is fast becoming the junk mail we all used to hate in our letterbox. I think bricks and mortar retailers are sadly underestimating the power of the physical contact that people want and need with a brand. Your digital space should support not compete with your bricks and mortar. While digital reins supreme at the expense of physical customers will grow weary of it and the brand. reply

  4. Avatar

    Matt posted on November 1, 2016

    Stuart, I hate jargon as much as anyone. But "omni-channel" makes more sense. I don't think you have to look hard to find a simple definition: Omni-channel retailers provide a seamless and consistent customer experience regardless of the channel the customer prefers. Nice attention-grabbing headline, but I know you don't really believe it. :) reply

  5. Avatar

    Stuart Bennie posted on November 2, 2016

    Thanks for all comments. Melissa, I didn't say it was dead although I wish it were! Maybe customers won't reject it but why not ask them. My guess is that the vast majority of customers wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about. Brian - please not ecosystem - I couldn't handle it ! Thanks Katherine - yes - I agree - no more unsolicited contact. Matt, you got it right. I don't really believe you mate! reply

  6. Avatar

    krishnam posted on November 8, 2016

    Hi Stuart Nice Article - I agree OmniChannel has grown out of Multi Channel and now that is the buzz word. These are marketing gimmicks which marketing agencies use to convince their customers and make them spend more and more on marketing their products. I am sure Marketers will come up with another word - probably 360 Degree marketing - to catch the customer unaware in his sleep as well as his waking and semi waking stage and push the product benefits to him. anyway omnichannel is still live and kicking atleast for some more time till it too becomes passe. Thanks reply

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