Addressing the Omnichannel dilemma should be a top priority for CPG manufacturers. The omnichannel brings with it, a wide array of new challenges. It's time for retailers and manufacturers to get OmniSmart about attracting, converting and delighting customers!
The omnichannel is not just the "channel" a customer makes their purchase through. It is the full consumer experience. Too many people confuse Multi-channel with OmniChannel and therefore ignore new challenges.
Unfortunately, most high level management are from an older generation. Most have very little understanding of social media. They don't understand the impact of many social media sites. Aside from seeing their own kids on these sites, they don't really understand how millenniels and generation X consumers are using coupons, social media sites, e-tailers, blogs, etc. That might sound harsh, but I can say that because I see it first hand and it constantly astounds me.
The omnichannel experience begins with research and product awareness. It includes the path to purchase including where they heard about you, what they researched, social influences, what device or outlet they prefer to use for purchase, all the way through the actual purchase process. It also goes beyond the purchase to hopefully, delight.
Some prospects are lost during this process. They may purchase competitive products or get distracted with completely different items that take your share of wallet. Even those who ultimately purchase your product may not be satisfied. They could be your best champion or your worst enemy depending on how active they are on social media and how they feel about their buying experience and the product itself.
The omni-channel poses dilemma’s for every entity involved.
Retailers’ struggle with internal competition between brick and mortar retail teams and their own e-commerce teams. Brick and mortar sales teams tend to be older with many years of experience. E-commerce teams tend to be younger, more trendy and grew up with the internet and social media. The two groups typically clash and often have little respect for the other teams' knowledge.
Consumers face the frustrations associated with non-responsive websites, pop-ups, shopping carts that don’t perform, coupons that don’t take, multiple searches to find the best price, frustrating return processes, etc. Additionally, they are frustrated with in-store purchases where there are unfriendly personnel or poor cell reception that won't download coupons or scan QR codes. Ultimately, these frustrations all turn into distrust of the manufacturer, the retailer, your website and/or the e-tailer they are purchasing from.
Manufacturers toil with a new phenomenon called “coupon stacking.” Customers use discounts from multiple sources, thereby eroding profits. In addition, negative sentiment typically targets the product or brand. Therefore, manufacturers need to manage and control consumer sentiment even if they didn't buy the product directly from their site.
Manufacturers must tackle the continuing issues they are saddled with related to the omnichannel by integrating the necessary data sources, identifying impact and begin tackling the problems with knowledge. Companies need to involve industry experts with integration expertise and omnichannel expertise who can take a fresh look at your existing architecture, review your current processes and provide you with a roadmap to solve both current issues associated with the omnichannel as well as the long-term needs of the business.