OMNI Channel Communications

Omni is a Latin prefix which means “all” or “every”. Therefore, the word omni-channel, I believe it is used to identify a new retailer strategy based on a holistic approach aimed to incorporate and merge all the sales channels together with technology to provide customers with a flowing shopping experience. The reason behind the necessity of this new approach is the fact that people nowadays are more and more tech-savvy which means that the new generations – the Millennials and the Generation X but people part of the Baby Boom – perceived technology as taken for granted, mobile phones, tablets, Wi-Fi connection are essentials and there are used to deal with them on daily basis. Moreover, the digital innovation brought several changes in the path to purchase of the consumers that today increasingly avoid brick-and-mortars stores in favor of ecommerce and online platforms easily available on the portable devices which can be used virtually everywhere. So that omni-channel experience aims to establish several engagements points with the clients that work consistently together among which digital serves as the connection between them. Those different locations are the physical stores, websites, tablets, smartphones, kiosks, touchscreens and digital signage.

In order to further improve omni-channel and their development within retail I believed it is needed the introduction of new technologies which may be not so innovative but that are really useful. First of all, tablets can be exploited as dynamic and interactive tools within the sale experience for both customers and sales person. In fact, they have an educational function because they can provide customers with information regarding the products but also help the long-term staff to keep up with new special deals and seasonal promotions or the seasonal workers are brought up quickly. Moreover, they can be used as mobile and flexible POS in order to substitute the big and costly traditional ones that once installed cannot be putted aside.

Another device that can extremely improve the benefits coming from omni-channel is the smartphones. The reason behind this is the fact that people today, are constantly connected with their phones and they use them for more than just dealing with friends and family, they also use smartphones to access the increasingly popular and powerful social networks as Facebook and Twitter to have real time feedbacks from their social public about their upcoming purchase. In addition, a further forceful exploitation of mobile is connect them with geo-localization in order to understand where the customer is and apply targeted marketing such as delivering coupons based on location or encourage on-site purchases.

Mobiles also provided the retailers with the posibility of deploy store‘s mobile applications within the point of sale. Consumers can use it through the Wi-fi for several different retail operations such as check prices, scan the barcodes or use the digital coupons.

Then, several retailers are introducing in their physical point of sale touchscreens which improve interactivity ad engagement within the brick-and-mortar channel. The most used are digital signage that are interactive displays which provide useful information to customers and the kiosk meaning positions where the customer can interact with the content, find purposes, sign up for loyalty programs or even proceed with the payment.
Last a great improvement for omni-channel will be the introduction of beacons and geo-targeting but retailers are still diffident about this new techonologies beacuse of the difficulties in managaging the huge amount of data and information collected.