Omnichannel Execution Missteps Can Cause More Harm Than Good

A few weeks ago I visited a new prototype store from a major U.S. retailer in order to learn more about their omnichannel strategy. Expecting a customer-centric experience that seamlessly connects the digital and physical stores, I was disappointed to see what appeared to be a misguided omnichannel deployment, with an experience that was actually inferior to one without enhanced technology. Here’s why:

  • New layout but broken technology.  Upon entering the store, I noticed a different layout with a lounge area on the right and an inoperable digital kiosk staring right at me. While the layout did appear to be more welcoming, the dark interactive display indicated a lack of commitment to execution
  • No in-store inventory or location-based awareness.  I found a smaller kiosk near the front of the store and searched for an item online.  I chose the 'pick up in store' feature, expecting the kiosk to recognize I'm already in the store and show what's in stock. Instead, this retailer decided to fulfill the order from their distribution center rather than direct me a few feet away to their colorful display showcasing the item. There was no in-store inventory information or any type of store mapping application within the kiosk.
  • Kiosks do not provide utility.  Another department also had a kiosk, but only provided the ability to find and buy the product online. Again I was expecting the retailer to recommend the appropriate product based upon my specific needs, and show me that the product I need is just a few aisles away.
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The Benefits Of Being A Forrester Analyst

Today marks the first 90 days for me as Principal Analyst within the eBusiness and Channel Strategy role at Forrester, and I could not be happier with my decision to join this great team and organization.  Along with working with extremely smart industry analysts in both business and technology roles, I have the opportunity to help participate in the growth and evolution of eBusiness leaders throughout the world.  The benefits of being a Forrester analyst typically don’t involve complimentary champagne and caviar, but they do involve realizing a tremendous amount of enjoyment from helping eBusiness leaders and their companies succeed.  Here’s how I’m adding value:

  • Gaining and providing insight by perpetually studying the business landscape. The role of an Analyst at Forrester is akin to attending your favorite college class, minus the exams and tuition expense.  I’m rewarded for being curious and for having a point of view.  This aspect of my role is very satisfying as I'm able to apply this insight and help our clients solve real problems.
  • Helping businesses solve issues through Inquiry calls. These client engagements allow me to provide tactical guidance and help solve urgent challenges. I’m often pulling from my experience running eBusinesses as well as leveraging the knowledge I’ve learned from my peers. Our clients love our Inquiry process because they get answers fast. These meetings often lead to stronger working relationships, allowing me to become a trusted adviser with our clients. 
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