What is an Omnichannel Experience?

After three days soaking in the brilliance of Noz Urbina, Lisa Welchman, Rahel Anne Bailie, Mike Atherton, and so many other brilliant people at the premier OmnichannelX conference last week in Amsterdam, I finally have an answer to the question we all set out to answer: what is an omnichannel experience?

What the Experts Said

The brilliance of this omnichannel conference was the sheer variety of speakers. Michael Priestly spoke to the details involved in content types needed for consistent content across IBM’s tools. Ryan Skinner addressed how to select channels that focus content on the customer. Lisa Welchman covered the internal governance needs that must be put in place for omnichannel approaches to succeed.

In other words, though the “omnichannel experience” might sound like a single new trend, in reality it’s a complete perspective. What’s more, it requires work across all areas of the organization to succeed. And once implemented, it affects every part of the customer journey and improves all brand experiences.

How Theory Becomes Practice

The OmniX conference helped to showcase how omnichannel can work for organizations. And omnichannel experiences meant different things for different teams:

  • Some focused on multiple tools
  • Other focused on several digital channels
  • Some crossed digital and face-to-face interactions

The term is becoming a buzz word, popular enough to result in several Forbes articles over the past few months. It’s more than a high-level theory. An omnichannel perspective impacts how you build your strategy. Implementing omnichannel experiences then requires an organizational hierarchy that allows for content ownership, and quick decision making. What’s more, there are tools and tactics needed, such as content tagging and domain modeling. And then there’s training, and standards, and ongoing governance, and measurement and updates over time.

What is an Omnichannel Experience?

My personal definition remains: an omnichannel experience is one that may incorporate any channel. But it’s easier to define omnichannel by what it isn’t. Omnichannel is not:

  • Digital channels only
  • Social media specific
  • The channels your team is already on
  • Every single channel, everywhere, all the time

What’s more, omnichannel requires additional questions. A good omnichannel experience strategy is user-centric. Choosing the right channels means asking: where is my consumer?

So let’s omnichannel. Let’s choose the best channels, and create amazing experiences.

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