Omnichannel 2021: Italian companies can no longer delay
Omnichannel Approach, Retail

Omnichannel 2021: Italian companies can no longer delay

2021 was a year of reconquest, of restarts and of discoveries: understanding how the channels of communication and interaction with one's customers have now fundamentally changed has been the keystone for the digital transformation of many companies.
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In 2020, attention to omnichannel processes in Italian companies grew significantly during the Covid-19 health emergency, which inevitably contributed to an acceleration of digital.

The new habits of consumers and the decrease in traffic in physical stores due to the pandemic, have prompted companies to reflect on implementing new strategies and shopping experiences .

But where are the companies at? Are they mature enough at a strategic-organizational and technological level in the path aimed at omnichannel?

How ready are Italian companies in managing an omnichannel strategy?

The Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory helps us to answer this question, which in 2020 conducted a research involving 150 medium and large companies different by product sector.

The study shows a clear overview of the state of maturity of Italian companies regarding the digital transformation in customer management processes and, more generally, in terms of “Omnichannel Strategy”.

  • Research data from the Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory

  1. 8 out of 10 companies have implemented governance processes for managing omnichannel processes, but few companies are able to generate measurable impacts over time.
  2. 17% of companies are still in an early and not advanced stage in implementing an Omnichannel approach.
  3. 25% are in the “in progress” phase, ie they are working to create a balance between mindset and the introduction of technologies to support the strategy.
  4. Only 7% of companies have an advanced stage of maturity both in means (data and technology) and in processes.
  5. In 2021, many companies are expected to be able to “join” this latter cluster, the more mature one.
  6. Only 1 in 4 companies has adopted omnichannel customer care and less than 40% of respondents adopt structured data-driven strategies.
  • Virtuous examples in retail: H&M and Yamamay

Already since 2019 Yamamay, the well-known underwear brand of the Pianoforte Holding SpA Group has been working on an omnichannel strategy aimed at integrating the digital and physical experience , let’s see how:

  1. Yamamay’s sales assistants are equipped with mobile payment technologies to support the customer during the in-store experience, without the customer having to pay at the cashier.
  2. Yamamay also introduced Anna, the Chat Bot that offers personalized purchasing advice. The technology, based on AI, is able to analyze the style of the customer and offer purchase suggestions. The service is accessible through their Google Account and the Customer has the possibility to follow the advice of the Chat Bot and connect to the brand’s website to make purchases.

Another virtuous example of perfect integration between offline and online is represented by the strategy of H&M , which in 2020 decided to revolutionize its stores and put online purchases at the center.

In fact, the stores have become logistics hubs from which:

  1. shipments of online orders are managed;
  2. the orders are collected and the items purchased on the website are returned.

Investments to be planned for the new year

Until recently, the approach of Italian companies was for the majority multichannel: companies limited themselves to making various touchpoints available without assuming the integrated management of data, information and customer behavior. Integrating an omnichannel strategy means taking a step forward : truly taking a customer-centric approach and providing an interconnected system of contact points.
To concretely implement an omnichannel process, the investments to be foreseen are at least three: an advanced and integrated Customer Care, new skills, and a technological structure capable of enhancing the data.

  • Customer care

As emerges from the data of the Omnichannel Customer Experience Observatory, having an omnichannel Customer Service allows you to achieve important results both on internal processes (cost optimization) and on external ones (new business opportunities and greater customer satisfaction).
Furthermore, the trend (25% of the interviewees) has already chosen to use technologies capable of managing all the interactions coming from the different touchpoints, both physical and digital, from a single platform.

An example are the technological solutions of XCALLY, the omnichannel contact center software designed to manage interaction with customers on all channels and keep track of the customer journey, all managed by a single platform that centralizes information and data for provide personalized and consistent assistance regardless of the contact channel.

  • New digital skills

For the correct management of an omnichannel strategy, more and more companies are looking for new skills and professional figures: the Customer Experience Manager the Omnichannel Project Manager able to manage the 360 ° Customer Experience and analyze the data.
Furthermore, half of the companies interviewed consider omnichannel as a fundamental process in digital transformation, capable of involving the entire organization. A real transformation in terms of organization, skills and mindset.

  • Technology and data in support of an omnichannel strategy

Never before have companies need skilled skills in data collection, organization and management .
Any business, to define itself as truly omnichannel, cannot ignore a centralized and shared view of data.
The Observatory highlights many shortcomings on this: even if companies are able to collect data (70%), the ability to exploit data to generate business opportunities is scarce. Furthermore, 52% of companies consider their means insufficient to achieve concrete objectives.

The time has come to prioritize an omnichannel approach intended as a real digital transformation strategy.
Never before has omnichanneling represented a fundamental direction for the growth of Italian companies , also and above all from an international perspective.