BrainTrust Query: Commerce, Anyway You Want It
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current
article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.
I believe our industry is
finally starting to realize the importance of letting consumers determine how,
when, and where to interact with retailers. Over the last few months I’ve seen
several articles discussing the importance of removing the barriers between
existing channels. Paula Rosenblum of RSR first brought the term ‘omni-channel’
to my attention back in September. She stated, "Omni-channel
retail isn’t the merging of channels — rather, it’s the use of all possible
channels (present and future) to enhance the customer experience in a profitable
In a posting in my own blog in December, I added to her thoughts, "For
retailers to provide an omni-channel experience, there needs to be one logical
representation of products, prices, promotions, and customers across all channels.
The only thing that varies is the presentation of the content based on the
delivery mechanism (e.g. shelf labels, mobile phone, web site, print, etc.)
and often these mechanisms can be combined in various ways."
Brian Walker of Forrester suggested we stop using the term multi-channel and
begin thinking more about consumer touch points. "It is time for organizations
to leave their channel-oriented ways behind, and enter the era of agile commerce
— optimizing their people, processes and technology to serve today’s empowered,
ever-connected customers across this rapidly evolving set of customer touch
Now Jason Goldberg, better known as RetailGeek, says we should
start breaking down the channel silos by recasting the VP of e-commerce as
the VP of digital marketing, and change his/her focus to driving sales across
all channels using digital media. This logic is based on the fact that consumers
switch between channels, or touch points as Brian prefers, as part of their
larger buying process. Today’s smart consumer leverages the web, mobile and
stores to provide the best shopping experience, so retailers need to make this
Regardless of what we call it, the key take-away is that "multi-channel" is
not only an antiquated term but also an idea whose time has passed. Today,
retailers must look at e-commerce, m-commerce, f-commerce, catalogs, and traditional
store sales collectively and through the consumers’ eyes. The goal is not to
drive sales through each channel but rather to just drive sales — using whatever
method the customer prefers. There really should be just one cart.
- Commerce, Anyway You Want It – Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
- Omni-channel Retailing Explained – Retail Systems Research
- Stop Saying "Multi-Channel!" – Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
- Why Multichannel Retail Is Obsolete – Forbes
- Is it Time to Drop the "e" from e-Commerce? – Retailgeek
Discussion Questions: Do you agree that ’multi-channel’ is becoming an antiquated term for retailers? What barriers do you see to a consistent offering of products and information across all the traditional and emerging touch points?