Time to change the omnichannel?

The current love for omnichannel in retail, while magical, doesn't quite capture the utopian ideal of completely seamless, frictionless shopping experiences. In the pioneering days, when owning a .com was exciting and ecommerce was the new frontier, brands could get away with very different experiences on and offline. It didn't really matter if your favorite products were unavailable or nobody told you what wine to buy with that cheese - just having the option to buy online was enough of a thrill.

Then the marketing world realized that hey, maybe it'd be a good idea to offer consistent experiences both online and off, so our brand promise was upheld and people were equally fulfilled wherever they shopped. And now we're all about omnichannel there's the expectation that every single customer touch, regardless of whether it's in a physical location, on a website or in an app, will be consistent.

But isn't it time to stop thinking in channels altogether? Your customers don’t shop with Your Store App or at Your Store Online or Your Store Location, they just shop at Your Store. It's an area where many retail marketers can improve: by focusing on providing a truly, seamlessly integrated experience regardless of medium, because that concept's becoming less and less relevant.

Marketing touches your customers on their own devices and yours, in your locations or out and about. There's no need to have a separate mobile strategy, because your marketing strategy needs to be mobile in order to give your customers the right level of personalized experience. And you really want to hit them where they live (which, face it, is probably their mobile phone), because the easier it is to shop with you, the less likely it is they'll shop with someone else.

So whatever the portmanteau du jour – digical, phygital, it boils down to the same thing. There is no 'mobile marketing' when everything is mobile, no omnichannel when there are no channels. It's all just marketing, only maybe the next stage of evolution.