Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Online Trends Common Sense

If I hear the term ‘Omni-Channel’ one more time, I’ll shoot myself

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Online Trends Common Sense

This blog was quite directly catalysed by watching an investment analyst – Roger Montgomery – on ABC’s LateLine this evening.

Having sat through David Jones’s presentation to investors today about where the retailer is at and especially, its vision on ‘Omni-Channel’, he rightly said that if he ever hears the term again, he’ll effectively jump off a bridge.

Roger, I’ll join you.

'Omni-Channel' is the most cringe-worthy concept retailers can possibly associate themselves with.

The term Omni-Channel is so abused and so vague and so awkwardly-grasped by retailers than have no ‘omni’ channel strategy, it has become almost a joke.

Essentially retailers arguing that they have an end-to-end offering for consumers – many channels – starting from email and the web through to car park advertising and point-of-sale, guiding the customer to the till and purchase.

Except that by even mentioning ‘Omni-Channel’, it means you don’t have any of it.

Trust me, it’s like a business saying it ‘innovates’… which means they probably don’t innovate at all.

Omni-channel means no more than multiple channels, except that retailers wear it as a badge of affirmation; what it really should mean is that 'hey, we're getting into this eCommerce business and try as we might, let's start with selling stuff online and grow from there'.

It's like the idea of 'Web 2.0' which came to mean so much and so little; and so much less when you mentioned it after 2008.

Jumping head-first into 'Omni' is like surfing a tournament before you know you can surf; and David Jones has no enviable surfing record if you know history. Afterall, they purchased 'The Spot' during the dot com boom and shut it down not long afterwards, unsure of what it all meant.

Australian retailers, don’t kid yourselves.

Just get your eCommerce website and mobile website right.

Get your email, offers and targeting right. Develop a sustainable and repeating traffic strategy.

Walk before you run and learn.

Tie it in-store by all means and give customers loyalty points to walk right up to your cash registers.

Sell some stuff and go from there. Consultants from IBM might give you utopium advice, though you are decades from Amazon and there is no quick fix.

Calling it ‘omni-channel’ however simply tells us you’re just starting and have no ‘channel’ at all.

And the more you say ‘omni’, the more you’re missing the point.

Play the game. You're late though not out of the game.

Kidding yourselves that 'omni' solves your sins and late entry to the game is not the way into the game however.