Change Management: Overcoming The Challenges Of Implementing An Omnichannel Strategy

Stephanie Haukingham

Many companies have gone omnichannel, diversifying contact points with their customers through smartphones, connected TVs, websites, and physical shops. With good reason, this approach is considered the new gold mine in the world of trade – a customer using several different channels buys up to 30% more compared to a mono-channel customer.

However, I’m seeing a common mistake during this transition: companies merely applying these new buying modes without making related changes that are essential to their businesses thriving. When choosing to adopt an omnichannel strategy, brands have to adjust their organization, as well as their management methods.

An organizational challenge: The birth of an omnichannel culture

By choosing a strategy based on channel multiplication, brands automatically enter into a process of transformation about the company and its business approach. Many experts discuss the growing importance of the customer experience within ever more complex ecosystems, but few explore the consequences of these strategic transformations on companies’ organizational structures.

Developing an omnicommerce approach requires a change of perception within the organization. To accomplish this, two essential elements must be taken into account: The organizational structure and adequate change management.

Siloed no more

The implementation of an omnichannel strategy impacts the organizational structure of all the company’s departments. When going omnichannel, companies must also embrace expertise pooling, a new way of thinking that removes the silos between the company’s departments.

Various departments (marketing, IT, digital) can no longer simply coexist, but instead must work hand in hand, with transparency among themselves. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges is setting up a crosscutting approach through the adoption of dedicated solutions, with the aim of developing synergies between teams.

Managing change

The success of an omnichannel approach relies on consensus and adequate change management. It is essential for the entire company, from the top down, to be concerned with the organizational permutations related to this vision. They must be educated about and develop an omnichannel management culture.

In particular, operational teams must be trained to understand the importance the way the channels complement one another. Today, e-commerce platforms are too often competing with physical sale points. One of the main challenges faced by every business is helping employees embrace this new approach, i.e. a complementary ecosystem, a problem particularly pressing in companies built on a franchise model.

Winning the support of employees requires training and the introduction of new business models that capitalize on growth potentials resulting from the synergy existing between digital and physical channels.

Like any other new strategy, the omnicommerce approach raises implementation challenges at every level: It is precisely the way companies integrate this dimension, in particular by transforming their corporate ethos, that will dictate their business’ success.

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This article originally appeared on Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.