No matter what industry you are in, your business has almost certainly been influenced by consumers’ expectations to have a seamless personalized experience, across all their digital mediums. And in a world of rapidly changing expectations, companies need to adapt at a moment’s notice.
The perils of not doing so have been laid out by McKinsey: “…organizations that fail to…manage the cross-functional, end-to-end experiences that shape the customer’s view of the business can prompt a downpour of negative consequences, from customer defection and dramatically higher call volumes to lost sales and lower employee morale.”
Sears Canada is a prime example of what happens when a company fails to adapt. A CBC article states: “The department store chain had been in business in Canada since 1953, but…the department store’s closure is a reminder that the company didn’t adapt quickly enough to the shifting retail landscape.”
From the point of view of a customer, shopping for their favourite shoes from mobile to in-store should be as easy as switching their Netflix show from the tablet to the TV. This is referred to as a seamless omnichannel experience, and it is taking over all industries.
Nick Van Weerdenburg, CEO of digital solutions consultancy Rangle.io, comments on the importance of creating a multi-platform experience: “Customers are looking for seamless data-sharing across all channels, as well as a personalized experience, and businesses need to tailor their offerings accordingly.”
Tactics for creating a successful omnichannel offering
- Break down software and business silos
- Adopt a technology and business methodology that enables rapid change
- Relentlessly focus on and adapt customer experience
A single architectural solution is essential because it enables a simplified operational framework in which the end customer becomes the primary focus. From a technology stance, there are two primary focus areas: the adoption of microservices and a cross-platform component application framework.
Microservices allow applications to easily interact with one another. Companies looking to design a unified omnichannel experience need to architect their solutions to enable a modular flexible middleware, easily allowing new channels to embrace and extend the platform.
The same benefit can be accomplished in the front end with a component architecture, which works similarly to the microservice and allows for the same type of flexibility across the entire application ecosystem. This reduces costs and increases flexibility, due to less duplication and increased modularity, supporting both omnichannel and multi-brand solutions.
The methodology for getting applications into production quickly and enabling rapid change often requires rethinking the way organizations approach development, deployment and business processes. Adopting a continuous integration and delivery model, automating testing, and reframing features as discrete units of work, form a process that allows you to course correct and respond much more quickly than traditional methods.
Most importantly, adopting these solutions allows you to focus on your users and their journey. With the right architecture, design framework, business leadership and vision, you can respond to changes in customer attitudes and the marketplace well ahead of your competitors and save money by dramatically reducing the overhead of managing multiple channels.
With your consumer expectations met in a timely matter you can focus on becoming the next innovator, trying new things and leading your industry versus following behind.
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