2020: The Year of Omnichannel

BrandPost By Aaron Goldberg
Feb 10, 2020
IT Leadership

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Credit: iStock

For the last 10 to 15 years, most organizations have viewed each marketing channel as completely distinct from any others. There was often an explicit segmentation between offline and online, and separate silos for face-to-face contact, telephone communication, and other channels. For these brands, it was frustrating that their ability to understand the customer experience was scattershot and inconsistent. Customer data couldn’t be correlated, and therefore it was impossible to develop a cohesive view of the customer. But perhaps worse than that, customers abhorred this state of affairs because, if they interacted with the brand via multiple channels, each time they reached out was like the first contact all over again.

Well, the old ways are about to change.  The move to omnichannel has been building for the past few years, and 2020 will see a tipping point.

In 2020, an omnichannel approach to the customer experience will change the game. This approach is defined by the full integration of data, customer policies/experience, and systems across all modes of customer interaction. Moving to an omnichannel perspective may be the single most important project for improving the customer experience that any organization can undertake this year.

As Cynthia Stoddard, SVP and CIO of Adobe, observes, “We’re seeing that our customers who embrace an omnichannel approach are seeing an increased ability to provide a consistent experience to their customers across offline and online channels, which then translates to more loyal customers.”

Omnichannel is important because it delivers critical benefits to both the brand and the customer. These benefits are so substantial and offer so much differentiation that organizations that move to omnichannel will quickly gain a critical competitive advantage.

Don’t be like the blind men and the elephant

Using data from only one or two channels is the analytics equivalent of the parable of the blind men and the elephant: Limited data points will lead you to draw the wrong conclusion. One of the primary benefits to the business is that omnichannel is the only way to generate a comprehensive set of customer data. The effective use of this data is essential to improving the customer experience and making successful changes to how customers are engaged. Without omnichannel, there is no way to develop accurate information about the customer.

For your customers, implementing omnichannel is critical to providing them with a consistent, impactful, and positive customer experience. There is no greater frustration for a customer than having to use different channels depending on what task they want to accomplish. In addition, having to re-enter information when switching from phone to online ensures a negative customer experience. Customers will quickly move to brands that deliver an omnichannel experience and enable their information to follow them. In much the same way that the business wants a consistent customer view, customers themselves want consistent interactions with the brand.

Deploying an omnichannel strategy is also a critical component that supports the business’s overall desire to become a modern, digital, data-driven organization. Businesses that are effectively using analytics can now integrate more of their customer experience/journey data into other broader business analytics activities.

“What should be most concerning to executives is the idea of a ‘false positive’ business decision,” says Adobe’s Stoddard. “When key decisions and directions are based on incomplete and misleading customer data, the resulting strategy could send the business in the wrong direction.”

Moving to omnichannel is a high priority for every successful business. This importance is driven by the twin vectors of the huge upside of omnichannel and the substantial downside of being late to the game. The latest tools and technologies from vendors such as Adobe simplify omnichannel deployment. All of this will drive a sharp surge in migration, making 2020 truly the “year of omnichannel.”

For more information to support your move to omnichannel, visit our page and check out this article.