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How to build an omni-channel solution

Many businesses are struggling with how to get their system solutions to cope with a transition to omni-channel, with everything from customer contact to payment solutions, inventory balances and returns. Inthis guide you get your patchwork of systems working together so that you can be where your customers are, whatever the channel.

1. Design a good system architecture

An architecture that includes all ERPs and handles all the relevant data is essential to a functional omni-channel solution. The systems must be connected correctly, and it must be clear which system owns the information.

2. Get the right help

If you get help from an external partner or system supplier with your omni-channel adaptation, take a look at the references and try to contact other customers with a business like yours, and ask them about their experience. Pay close attention to the cost calculation. Also, draw up a proper budget and make sure you have dedicated personnel in place with IT expertise.

3. Get to know your customer

Get to know your customers' needs and find out how they want to be contacted regarding information and for deliveries. Contact them via the channel they want to use and make sure they experience the same tone of voice and customer service, whether via the website, in the store, by e-mail, in print or via social media.

4. Real-time info

In the best of omni-worlds, you have access to the right data, via the right channel, at the right time. Make sure that the information is gathered and sorted, and that you have access to it in real time, whatever the channel.

5. Make the most of the potential

In all the information that your systems gather, there is unexploited potential for improving the processes and increasing customer satisfaction. Look at the information flow as a strategic resource, rather than difficult-to-handle data.

6. Forget the supersystem

No system can solve all your problems. The solution lies in building up a functional infrastructure of different systems and channels. Omni-adaptation is complex and you need to reserve time and money for the implementation.