More likely than not, the words omnicommerce and omnichannel are quite new to you. To break it down, quite literally, the stem “omni-” comes from a Latin root meaning all or everywhere. Thus, the words omnichannel and omnicommerce are buzzwords that refer to a customer experience through all available channels. This doesn’t just mean allowing customers to shop online, on mobile and in-store. It’s more than that. It’s a seamless customer experience throughout all channels, built on integrating all experiences on all platforms. Omnicommerce relies on focusing on the customer rather than the channel and using collective information to give the customer a more enjoyable experience in order to build better customer relationships.

But why now? What’s changed? Every day, more and more people, especially millennials, use their mobile devices to shop, so as this happens and as businesses are able to gather more customer information from shopping, it becomes essential to create a customer experience molded around the customer. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, in 2014, 69 percent of 35-54-year-olds planned to use a mobile device to help with holiday purchases. This year, that number rose to 74 percent, approaching the 79 percent of millennials who plan to use a smartphone to shop. Another factor contributing to the development of omnicommerce is the evolution of big data. The amount of information that can be processed and used to understand trends and ultimately increase profits, has grown to zettabytes worth of information. With this in mind, businesses hope to predict what a customer wants when walking into a store before the customer even knows it- that’s omnicommerce.

You’re probably thinking, “Wait. I’ve already seen this.” Think about the last time you’ve logged onto Netflix and you’re looking for something new, but you’ve already binged through what you thought was every show on there. Then you noticed the “Suggested for You” category. One part of omnicommerce is this “Suggested for You” feature, but on a larger scale. Right now, Netflix is using the other movies and shows you’ve watched on Netflix to figure out what you would most likely enjoy so that you don’t have to spend hours searching for a new show. Well, imagine if Netflix pulled information not only from their own site, but also from your favorite TV channels, movies you’ve seen in theaters and movies you’ve watched on iTunes- you get the point. Now when you log on to Netflix, they have more data to get you exactly what you want.

Now, let’s take a step back. Imagine you’re browsing Walmart’s site, either mobile or online. What if Walmart could pull together relevant suggestions for you based on your recent searches, the items you’ve bought or browsed at Target and other stores, current trends and a dozen other factors? This is just one part of omnicommerce, but in fact, Walmart has recently worked towards other aspects of omnicommerce, such as same day in-store pickup of items bought online. Macy’s is another company that is working towards omnicommerce goals with their system that integrates all of its inventory systems to give store associates visibility of inventory across all channels. Neiman Marcus has developed software to allow employees to see when regular customers enter the store and gives them access to customer information, preferences and other data.

With the creation of the Google Glass and other wearable technology, omnicommerce is taking another step in the right direction. Wearable technology allows businesses to work with customers hands-free and focus on the customer, while still receiving information about the customer preferences and store inventory. The idea has been so revolutionary to retail, it has even had an impact on customer satisfaction in the medical field. Take a look at some companies that have already integrated wearable technology into customer service and satisfaction.    

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