Where is the omnichannel today?

I have talked often about the omnichannel on this blog. In fact, at the beginning of the year I was talking about how it will be one of the defining trends of 2013.

I still believe that this is true, even now in July, but for many companies the omnichannel appears to still be something that is more aspirational than real – even with all the evidence suggesting that customers are now demanding this kind of multichannel support from brands.

The Wall Street Journal recently talked about the myth of the omnichannel – not that the focus on omnichannel is not important, but that most retailers are stuck with such antiquated systems that they can only change at a glacial pace.

A Google search for omnichannel reveals that many commentators are starting to consider that this trend may have been hyped too quickly. It could be true, but that doesn’t detract from the underlying importance of the subject.

Consumers are demanding that retailers blend their online and physical shopping experience and customer service. Retailers may be reacting slower than expected because of their investment in legacy technology and supply chain systems, but this slower than expected reaction does not mean that they will not change – eventually.

One look at the High Street today – and the numerous reports into the future of retailing – shows that this is an area of business where expectations from the consumer are changing fast. Any retailer prepared to move faster than others is staring at a golden opportunity to win an enormous chunk of market share – just by offering better customer service.

Shopping trolleys.

Photo by Polycart licensed under Creative Commons

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