February 21, 2013

Omnichannel and People: Macys and Belk

Experts outline two recent executive announcements as proof that omnichannel is the future.
It's been 18 years (1995) since I first heard an executive (at Eddie Bauer) mention the critical importance of "multichannel" - in a meeting, he discussed how digital and retail needed to align to better serve the customer, while everybody else offered blank stares in response.  This individual might be responsible for the phrase "multichannel customers are worth 8 times as much as single channel customers", and I ran the query (under protest, of course)!

In other words, the experts have been beating retailers up for almost two decades ... two decades of dissatisfaction with how retailers respond to first e-commerce, and now, mobile.

When you appoint an executive to lead an area, you are saying that you have a people problem.  I'm not saying that either company is better off or worse off than others.  I am saying that it is terribly difficult to get 150,000 employees (or 150 employees) to all pull in the same direction.  So you put somebody in charge, and you expect that person to make things happen.

Hiring omnichannel executives isn't proof that omnichannel arrived.

Hiring omnichannel executives is proof that it is terribly difficult to get people, human beings, to all do something deemed important by Sr. Management.