Implementing an omnichannel strategy requires a unified organizational culture.

You brick-and-mortar store has launched an online counterpart, but you aren’t seeing the boost in sales you had expected. Customers come into the store and are disappointed when they can’t find the item they saw online. They enjoy the streamlined aesthetic of your location, but their experience online feels clunky and frustrating. They’re voicing complaints about your online store to your in-store representatives, because they can’t find a way to contact customer service from your website. You’re starting to wonder if this move was actually a big mistake.

The problem isn’t your strategy, it’s your culture.

What you’re experience is a disconnect between your culture and your new omnichannel retail strategy. Omnichannel (creating a seamless customer experience no matter how they access your organization) is the way of the future—there’s no way around it. Even if you primarily operate from a store front, customers expect to be able to reach you online. And if your entire business is online, you customers will expect to interact with you across desktop, mobile, and social media channels. Neglecting any one of these sources of contact will harm your organization.

But successfully implementing an omnichannel strategy requires a unified organizational culture. Your organizational must take the same approach to customer service online as it does in the store. It should present the same vision and mission. Otherwise, customers will notice the disjuncture, and it will affect their trust in your organization. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

How can your organization prepare for an omnichannel strategy?

Successfully launching an omnichannel strategy begins with alignment from the top. It doesn’t matter how committed employees on the floor are to an omnichannel strategy if your C-suite sends mixed messages about how they plan to implement that strategy. Create a strategy that fits your organization’s needs, rather than copying from similar (but different) organizations. Then show how this strategy will play out in your business operations and support this strategy at all turns.

These steps sound straightforward, but making them work can be tough. To learn more about how to align your organizational culture with an omnichannel strategy, read Ia Ko’s TRANSFORM article, “Aligning Culture and Omnichannel Retail Strategy,” where she tackles this subject in more detail.

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