Omnichannel or multichannel from a consumer perspective

Over the past months there has been a lot of discussion about the need for selling in several channels – offline and online. Headlines as “Pureplayers will die” are in my opinion taking the wrong perspective.

“Forget about channels. There are  brands and there are customers.” – Bryan Eisenberg

The quote above illustrates the future consumer. Today, we are confident shopping in many different channels and we change channels as we go from inspiration and planning to the actual moment we purchase. And we don’t really care from which retailer we purchase, as long it is the product and brand we are looking for.

In my opinion consumers primarily appreciate the omnichannel feeling when they have bought the product. They might like to return the product or have a complaint or just need help. They pass a retailer that sells Nudie Jeans, and ask him to help solving the problem. They will be disappointed in the brand, if the answer is: “…well, we do sell this product, but since it is bought online, we can’t help you”.

This is where the brand can impress the consumer and receive a happy smiley in the next satisfaction survey. The consumer are not impressed because you can sell in many channels, the product is already available in many channels, just not sold by you. 

Omnichannel from a sales perspective is not customer centric thinking, offering a flexible and convinient return and customer service solution is.