For many years now it seems, countless headlines, bloggers, analysts—and in the corporate halls of retailers—have touted the glory of the retail panacea often called ‘omnichannel.’  There are also a variety of words and phrases associated with omnichannel: seamless experiences, unified commerce, digital transformation, and so on—these seemingly an attempt to put a new spin on the word to help explain (or understand) it better.

But are you really there?

Omnichannel as a concept is not new, but for many retailers, it’s still just that: a concept.  We’ve talked about this in the past, and it’s much more than trying to band-aid your e-commerce, mobile app, and store supporting systems together and telling your store staff, “We have an app.” —then leaving them alone to wrestle with customer returns of items purchased online.

To truly become an omnichannel retailer takes a good amount of planning, the overhaul of processes and systems, management of change, and yes, some pain—particularly for retailers with significant histories and legacy systems.  In a Parker Avery point of view, “Five Steps for Omnichannel Success,” we discuss five specific steps every retailer needs to undertake to successfully get to omnichannel.  This week, we give you the first two steps outlined in this latest publication.

Define what ‘omnichannel’ is (and is not), and build the roadmap

The definition of what omnichannel means and what is ‘in scope’ can differ widely from one retailer to another. Certain capabilities may be more important than others based on a specific business model or target consumer. For your definition, consider the following:

  • Your typical customer journey drives your omnichannel capabilities. Recognize how might this differ across your customer dem