Friday, February 8, 2013

Omnichannel? Please spare me the hype!

Hands up, who is getting really hacked off with the word Omnichannel? Me for one!

Used all over the place right now, but especially by marketing and consulting types (Yes, I know I’m both), the word is frequently mentioned to mean “More than multi-channel”.

But stop and think for a second…. What does “multi-channel” actually mean? Well my definition is the same one that most people in the online retail world have… several channels to market. These include: In-store sales, PC website, mobile website, mobile phone app, tablet app, etc.

So if “Multi” means many… then “Omni” must mean ‘all’ right? And by this extrapolation… “Omni channel” must mean all channels to sale. Which doesn’t make much sense if you think about it, since:

1.       Not every channel suits every product or customer (either for influence or transactions)

2.       Telephone is a sales channel that a lot of retailers tried, but now most have given up on

I think that the word "Omnichannel" has just been thrown into various conversations and white papers by solution providers looking to distinguish themselves from others in the market merely offering ‘multi-channel’… and that’s just hype for its own sake!

Still, it could be worse… I recently heard someone say “there is no channel”, which is either a Buddhist/Matrix reference or a way to further differentiate themselves from the growning Omnichannel mob.

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