Retailers have it tough as they strive to deliver a seamless omnichannel brand experience across all customer touchpoints. Their jobs are made even more difficult by the abundance of commerce-related software solutions masquerading as omnichannel. These fake omnichannel solutions, or “fomni”, promise but fail to deliver the shopping experience that shoppers expect.

Fomni cobbles together point solutions that are standalone and channel specific. What’s the result? A fomni solution can’t produce a single system of record for customer, inventory or order information, breaking the customer experience and putting retailers at a competitive disadvantage. All the while, retail staff waste time navigating through each system and IT dedicate most of their time keeping everything glued together.

Case in point: A colleague of mine was shopping online at a national clothing retailer and found an outfit she liked. The store was only minutes from her home so she decided to visit the store to try it on. The sales associate was courteous and helpful, and the store even offered a 30 percent discount. When one of the items she liked wasn’t available in her size, the sales associate whipped out her store tablet and found it available on the retailer’s website.

Yet, instead of ordering from her tablet, the sales associate had to call the company’s online sales team. She was on hold for a few minutes and placing the order took another five minutes. It only got worse. My colleague was unaware the website didn’t offer the 30 percent discount and the online sales rep wasn’t aware that the store was running a sale. It was only after the phone call ended that my colleague realized she may have paid full price for the item and had the sales associate call back, cancel the order and re-order it to get the discount.

This is fomni dressed up as omnichannel. All the time, energy and money to create a customer experience won’t mask the problems of cobbling together disparate, point solutions. And fomni can’t be fixed by simply installing a new POS or ecommerce system. A true omnichannel experience requires a unified commerce platform that natively integrates your customer facing ecommerce and POS systems with your back-end business systems to provide accurate customer, inventory, financial and order data in real time to customers and staff.

If you want to know the tough but essential questions to ask in order to find out if you have fomni, watch this video: