On October 28th Bridge Solutions Group sponsored the NYC Omni-channel Retail Meetup.  There was a good turnout: several software vendors, a couple of consulting companies, a financial analyst, and of course, retailers.  There was some good food and drinks along with some great conversation.

A manager from a leading management consult company shared an omni-channel project that he was involved in.  It took a lot of us surprised.  The customer was a healthcare provider.  Most people only look at Omni-channel as a retail thing.  I know we have manufacturers and wholesales long with other non-retail customers that feel omni-channel does not apply to them.  But this healthcare provider saw significant gains by marketing directly to the end customer in addition to the traditional route of marketing to companies that hire or utilize their services.

We started off with attendees sharing what they think omni-channel means.  It varied a lot.  This highlights the challenges in implementing omni-channel.  While at a high level, it’s giving a customer the same experience no matter how they choose to interact with a business. How you do this varies.  The healthcare provider extended their omni-channel initiative down to their customers’ employees.

We also discussed some of the challenges faced when implementing any omni-channel initiative, particularly business process change.  While technology has progressed to enable the omni-channel experience, redesigning business processes and rolling them out to employees is still a big challenge.

As we are all getting ready for peak season, the next event for the NYC Omni-channel Retail Meetup will be scheduled for late January 2015.  The major topic of discussion will be around omni-channel business process changes and how to manage them.