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What is omnichannel and omnicommerce?

For retailers, customers are the center of their universe. Gaining their attention, earning their business and maintaining their loyalty are defining goals.

Achieving those goals can grow more difficult as technology redefines what’s possible. From telephone orders to mobile apps, eCommerce websites to the Internet of Things, creating seamless experiences is harder than ever. Connecting with your customers anywhere and everywhere can quickly become a logistical nightmare.

Omnichannel is an integrated “all-channel” approach to sales and marketing that seeks to deliver consistent, seamless, personalized experiences to customers.

Omnichannel arose as a way to harmonize sales and marketing efforts. Those efforts were often fragmented and fell short of delivering on evolving customer needs. Omnichannel simply extends multichannel concepts to focus on integration.

Omnicommerce is an integrated “all-channel” retail approach that seeks to deliver consistent, seamless, personalized experiences that culminate in secure, frictionless payments.

The emergence of omnicommerce as a philosophy reflects the rising importance of payments as a cornerstone in each customer journey. Omnicommerce is about organizing your retail strategy toward the goal of creating simple personalized shopping experiences that delight customers—and your bottom line.

What’s the difference between omnichannel and multichannel? 

Omnichannel is simply “all channels,” while multichannel means “more than one channel.”

In the beginning there were no channels. All commerce took place face-to-face. More than a century ago mail order emerged as the first innovation that would evolve into a “channel” separate from traditional in-person commerce.

The telephone, television and internet would all follow, each maturing as a technology before embracing commerce and evolving into sales and marketing channels. Businesses would reorganize as each new-at-the-time technology brought changes in everything from logistics to marketing.

As channels matured, so did problems with integration. Channels would evolve into silos where coordination and communication became difficult. Multichannel efforts were the first to identify the importance of “speaking with one voice.” Those efforts were difficult enough when most businesses might have two or three channels among in-store, phone and an eCommerce website.

When “multi” channels started to mean a half dozen or more rather than one or two, omnichannel approaches emerged. Technology meant that retailers were going to need a bigger boat.

What does omnicommerce mean for payments?

For today’s sophisticated consumers a payment isn’t simply about transacting funds for your goods or service. That transaction is expected to be perfect, of course. But that’s just the beginning.

Payments are central to the customer experience. When viewed in the context of a customer journey, payments may represent a small slice in time but those events can take on outsized importance.

When payments go right—fast, efficient, transparent, accurate—you’re creating seamless experiences and happy customers. They’re free to focus on the value your brand delivers. When payments go right they’re simply a natural event in a customer’s ongoing journey. When payments go right those customer journeys are more likely to intersect with your brand, time and again.

When payments go wrong—in any way—friction is introduced at the worst possible time. Whether it’s a friction-filled checkout experience on your eCommerce website that isn’t optimized for mobile payments, an unreliable or inconsistent point of sale or a false-positive for fraud, negative payment events are roadblocks that no business should have afford.

Omnicommerce approaches have huge implications for payments and how you organize your enterprise strategy. Offering simple, consistent, fast, reliable payment experiences across every relevant customer touchpoint is foundational to a successful omnicommerce retail strategy.

Is your enterprise built for an omnichannel future?

Today, new channels appear seemingly overnight. Contextual commerce opens doors to customer touchpoints in social media channels. Voice-activated technologies are bringing commerce to the car, kitchen, or really anywhere. The Internet of Things brings opportunities to connect with consumers via everything from cars to refrigerators—up to and including transacting payments.

So is your business built for the future of omnichannel integration? First, omnicommerce is philosophical approach to retail organization. Though they share common traits, retail enterprises are far too complex for one-size-fits-all solutions.

Omnicommerce isn’t a single set of fixed tools but rather a flexible organizational approach that puts the customer first and builds around their needs. There are tools and technologies that make flawless customer experiences more likely, like accepting smartphone-based mobile wallets for payment. There are useful practices, like ensuring customer service touchpoints are tightly integrated across all channels. The key is harmonizing those tools, technologies and best practices across your organization.

If you’re not sure whether your retail enterprise is built for the omnichannel realities of today (much less tomorrow), a great place to start is to consult with your payment partner. Worldpay is a leader in payment technologies that are foundational to successful omnicommerce. Connect with one of our payment experts to learn how Worldpay helps enterprises like yours enable payment solutions.

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