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Posted by Martin Gill on November 27, 2012
You’ve all heard the term “Omnichannel.” And since you are reading this blog I’m going to assume you’ve also all heard the term “Agile Commerce.” If not, then stop reading now and check out Welcome to the Era of Agile Commerce and Agile Commerce: Know it When You See It.
So either you are back, or you were with me all along. But now you are wondering “Ok, so what is the difference?” Let’s look at what the two terms really mean. Omnichannel doesn’t have a formal definition, though here’s what the oracle that is Wikipedia says…
“Omni-Channel Retailing is very similar to, and an evolution of, multi-channel retailing, but is concentrated more on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels, i.e. mobile internet devices, computers, bricks-and-mortar, television, catalog, and so on.”
On the other hand, Forrester defines agile commerce as…
“An approach to commerce that enables businesses to optimize their people, processes, and technology to serve customers across all touchpoints.”
So superficially, they seem to be the samething, don’t they? They both espouse an approach that allows the customer freedom to interact with a brand on any touchpoint, however they want. But in reality, Agile Commerce is much more than that. Here’s why. The first thing that is wrong with Omnichannel is the name itself. Here’s a slide I presented recently at Internet Retailing 2012 to try and highlight what’s wrong. See if you can work it out…
So here’s what’s wrong:
These may seem like semantics, but I think goes beyond that. The concept of agility is critical to business. Our Agile Commerce research is based in the study of dozens of organizations that are embracing the complexity of 21st century business and are finding that there are four steps to agile commerce success. We outline these in our latest research into how firms are embracing an agile future.