“Omnichannel” is a hot term these days in almost every industry, so it’s no surprise that many commerce-related software vendors have draped their offerings with an omnichannel cloak. At the same time, many businesses think they can provide an omnichannel experience by just connecting their existing, siloed systems together, when in fact they’re stuck in the fomni world.

Fomni is short for fake omnichannel—typically a collection of point solutions stitched together that is meant to operate as one cohesive solution. Vendors will argue that manually connecting best-of-breed applications—ecommerce, POS, order management, CRM, ERP—will turn siloed lemons into omnichannel lemonade.

But because each system is standalone and channel-specific, they can never truly communicate with each other in real time or with 100% accuracy, thus failing to deliver on rising consumer expectations for a relevant and consistent experience across every touchpoint. Often based on ’80s-era legacy ERP as a foundation with bolted on ecommerce, POS, content management and other systems, these systems were designed to support departmental processes, rather than the customer and today’s customer-centric ideal.

As a result, businesses are unable to understand their customers and turn business insights into an advantage. Fomni solutions also can’t supply a single system of record for customer, order and inventory information, breaking the customer experience and putting businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

On top of that, keeping fomni systems running is costly and complex. Organizations pay a high price in IT time and resources to stitch together and maintain a patchwork of siloed systems. Managing multiple licenses and wrestling with ripple effect problems when changes to one system require additional changes across other applications further complicate fomni management.

Symptoms of fomni include:

  • Customer frustration with inconsistent experiences, and inability to buy anywhere, get anywhere, return anywhere.
  • Lack of real-time visibility into inventory across multiple locations—warehouses, stores and 3PLs.
  • Store associates, call center reps and ecommerce personnel can’t see a complete history of all customer interactions across all channels.
  • Unintentional pricing discrepancies across channels because systems lack a common foundation.

Ultimately, fomni impacts the customer experience. Store associates are unable to accept a return of merchandise bought online. A customer might see a product in a store, but can’t buy it online later because it’s out of the stock a retailer has set aside for ecommerce transactions. A shopper might buy a product in a store—then two days later, receive an email offering the same product at 50% off.

Providing a true omnichannel experience requires a natively unified platform that encompasses ecommerce, POS, order and inventory management, CRM and marketing. For information on a true omnichannel commerce solution, visit SuiteCommerce.com.

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