Companies that understand the need for (and consumer expectation for) an omnichannel strategy must move to a more networked and connected infrastructure. An omnichannel strategy that incorporates selling at different points through different channels requires several key shifts including:
- A seamless supply chain that ensures products or services are always available, and inventory is managed dynamically.
- Broad changes to organizational structure including staff, business metrics, and technology systems in order for the strategy to be successful.
Organizational structure changes that are needed for success will bring more visibility, integration, and agility to the organization. Moving to a new structure requires more than just systems “talking” to one another, it also needs broader organizational changes. Here are four key areas:
- Remove silos. Embrace the “omni” experience and dismantle processes or teams that operate on their own. Whether it’s a promotions team or the sales staff, you have to get every group working together, sharing information, and using the same systems. Larger organizations that are transitioning may need a dedicated team that spots and fixes silos.
- Organize data efficiently. You need metrics on both the online and in-store sales, with emphasis on household sales, retention rates, and conversion rates. If a customer visits a physical store three times in a month without making a purchase, they might be considered a low-value prospect. But if they completed five online transactions during that month, then their value shifts considerably. Information on returns also needs to be integrated among channels to ensure the most up-to-date stock and trend information is received.
- Offer incentives. Shifting to an omnichannel strategy is impossible without the buy-in of personnel at various organizational levels. You need to offer unique incentives for different groups that are all tied to unified goals. Marketing, IT, in-store sales staff, and supply chain teams all need to understand their role in providing a seamless customer experience and the need to share information dynamically.
All of these changes to the organization structure and supply chain need to be completed quickly, and the organization needs to be nimble enough to try a new approach, and adjust quickly if it’s not working as planned.