How would you rate the success of your omnichannel strategy?

There are so many different variables involved in omnichannel retail that you may not have a straight answer to the question.

But regardless of the challenges, retailers have rallied around the omnichannel buzzword since 2014 as the key to keeping up with Amazon.

The theory is simple: find a way to create a continuous experience in-store, online, and on mobile to meet the expectations of modern consumers.

Execution is the problem.

Despite the rise of omnichannel, retailers are still losing ground to Amazon. Here are some common reasons your omnichannel strategy is falling short (and a new frame of mind that can help you turn things around).

3 Common Problems with Omnichannel Strategies

It’s not easy to get every moving piece of an omnichannel strategy to fit together perfectly. You may have a long-standing reputation for in-store customer experiences. But that doesn’t mean they’ll translate into ecommerce success.

Or, you could successfully connect online and in-store channels only to fall short with mobile. There’s so much that could go wrong in each piece of omnichannel.

Each omnichannel strategy is unique. However, the following are 3 common reasons why omnichannel retail doesn’t have the impact business leaders expect.

1. You’re Delivering Multichannel, Not Omnichannel

The hardest part about omnichannel isn’t having a presence online, on mobile, and in-store. It’s integrating these channels into a continuous experience.

Unfortunately, many “omnichannel” retailers still operate in silos within their organizations. There’s a head of ecommerce, a head of brick-and-mortar, and a head of mobile retail. This isn’t omnichannel, it’s multichannel.

Without aligning each channel and breaking down internal silos, you’ll keep hitting the same walls to omnichannel success. 

Multichannel strategies can be successful. But they don’t represent the kind of transformative change necessary to compete with Amazon.

2. Your Technology Isn’t Flexible Enough

Moving beyond multichannel to execute an omnichannel strategy is a technical challenge.

In most cases, you’re trying to make decades of legacy platforms and proprietary software fit into ecommerce and mobile commerce environments. It’s easier said than done.

A PwC study found that 40% of retailers struggling with omnichannel place most blame on legacy systems and tough-to-integrate software.

Investing in more proprietary software and inflexible solutions won’t overcome omnichannel challenges. Instead, invest in technology that makes it easier to bridge the gaps between backend platforms.

3. You’re Losing Customer Context Between Channels

What does it really mean to integrate your retail channels?

For some leaders, it’s all about recouping the continued loss of revenue from brick-and-mortar locations. In reality, integrating retail channels should be all about the customer experience.

When omnichannel is failing, it’s often because you’re losing the context of a conversation as customers move from channel to channel. That contextual data is the key to personalizing experiences, truly engaging with customers, and delivering a one-to-one experience that sets you apart from the competition.

Seamless Retail—More than Just Omnichannel

“We want ‘seamless retail,’ not just omnichannel. Omnichannel has been a much-abused word. Experiences are what we need to drive for the customer.”Rajeev Rai, CTO and VP of Neiman Marcus

This quote from Rai perfectly sums up the problem with omnichannel retail. It’s quickly becoming a crutch for leaders. A simple checklist to meet customers where they are.

But winning the hearts and minds of increasingly-mobile shoppers requires more than a simple checklist. You need the infrastructure, workforce, and mindset to engage in personal conversations with each individual customer.

For Rai and the Neiman Marcus team, this means going beyond omnichannel to focus on experiences through any device, any channel, and any touchpoint. Fighting with Amazon on product and price is fruitless. Start delivering unique customer experiences that shoppers will keep coming back to.

If omnichannel feels like a challenge, forming seamless lifetime customer conversations may seem even tougher. But it doesn’t have to be. Check out our free white paper, The Retail Digital Executive’s Playbook for Conversational Commerce, to learn more about making the shift.