October 11, 2016

Building a Business Case for Omnichannel in Retail

The importance of having a truly omnichannel presence is becoming increasingly obvious to business leaders, but there's no getting around the cost and complexity associated with the shift from an independent or multi-channel platform and strategy. This type of high visibility and expensive technology initiative has an incredibly high failure rate due to:

  • A lack of internal support
  • A lack of stakeholder buy-in
  • Poorly defined requirements
  • A failure to understand customer expectations
  • Inaccurate project cost estimates
  • Incorrect measurement of the potential impact
  • A poorly defined business case  

In July, Brendan Witcher of Forrester published an updated, exceptionally thorough version of their Building the Business Case for Omnichannel in Retail white paper. Writing a business case to justify the shift to an omnichannel business model may seem like a waste of time, but done correctly, it can save time, money and set your team up for success. Whether your business is large or small, these key takeaways from the white paper are a great place to start thinking about your approach.

Key Takeaways

  • Use the business case process to set internal expectations  — A solid omnichannel fulfillment business case sets the stage as a way to educate, inform, guide and align stakeholders who will be part of the project. It's also a way to present evidence that these initiatives will provide value to the company and the customers. The business case is the primary tool for communicating and determining viability of the initiative.  
  • Stakeholders must collaborate actively  — Omnichannel fulfillment and customer service impacts virtually every department in an organization. Each stakeholder plays a specific role in vetting and addressing the benefits, costs, and risks that come with bringing omnichannel capabilities to market.  
  • Use a proven business case model to achieve success  — Don't re-invent, or worse yet, invent your own wheel. Enabling an omnichannel presence requires large investments in time, resources and technology. Using a methodical and proven approach, such as Forrester's TEI model, to build your business case can help you quantify, communicate and realize the complete value of your investment and to make better spending decisions. Although it seems like a cumbersome process, it's worth the time to read through their approach and adopt what makes sense for your organization.


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