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The “most common” definition of omnichannel retailing is enabling customers to shop and return merchandise across any of the channels (stores, e-commerce, catalog, mobile). Catalog and mobile channels being a relatively small portion of the sales for most retailers, it effectively reduces the problem of store and e-commerce.

A lot of retailers have been doing “multi-channel” retailing for decades. Two things changed:

  1. Rise in e-commerce spending leading to a larger share of the revenue from e-commerce.
  2. Consumers’ shopping behavior: Earlier, there was a belief that the consumer who shops in a store is different from the consumer who shops online. This belief has been invalidated. There is consensus that the same consumer shops across channels, and they expect a more seamless shopping experience.

In summary, a lot of retailers have been operating multiple channels for the last two decades. However, they have been operating in silos internally as well as in customer-facing. Omnichannel requires a retailer to eliminate the silos from a customer experience perspective as well as internal operations. To put a marketing phrase around it: “One customer, one inventory, one price, one experience”.

Vikas Goel

Vikas Goel is the Chief Customer Officer at o9 Solutions. He has over 25 years of experience in planning and analytics across multiple domains. In his current role, he is responsible for client success, value delivery, and partner enablement globally.