Is omnichannel enough?
The classic definition, of course, is approaching sales from multiple angles: in-store, desktop, mobile devices, etc.
But is it enough? After all, the omnichannel undertaking is usually one that involves a company branching out beyond what might be its traditional engagement with consumers. Consider the brick-and-mortar firm that looks to gain attention from online offerings, or Amazon’s own forays into bookstores and physical outlets.
To that end, Diebold Nixdorf has unveiled Vynamic, a retail and financial services software suite that helps businesses offer what it calls “agile and seamless” solutions across mobile and physical avenues of commerce.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Alan Kerr, SVP of Software at Diebold Nixdorf, said that omnichannel pulls together the disparate threads of commerce at work within a single institution. A bank’s channels, by way of example, can run the gamut from ATMs to online to mobile channels. The consumer may wish to start a transaction online and finish it via phone. Thus, the key for businesses is to have information flow seamlessly across all channels and then to the retail experience.
True connected commerce, said the executive, is “the connection of multiple omnichannels.” An example can be seen when a consumer goes into their mobile banking application and is alerted to offers from retailers.
To cross the Rubicon from omnichannel to connected commerce effectively, said Kerr, there are technologies that must be put in place (more on this later). Done well, he continued, these firms will have created a personalized, individualized consumer experience, where experience becomes “a lot richer when you are not hidebound by the single enterprise.”
Thus, siloed information — data and insight that is kept within departments that is shared across the enterprise and then between enterprises — could lead to more efficient ways of doing business, boosting the top and bottom lines of those companies.
The process, said Kerr, is not an easy one and takes time — not to mention technology. An open approach to data is necessary, he told PYMNTS, with “simple interfaces that allow you to share data” (via open APIs) through cloud-based initiatives.
The goal is a shift from transactions to personalized connections. Picture the consumer who wants to buy a car — applying for a car loan and then visiting the showroom to buy the car (again, the bank and the retail experience are intertwined). In an ideal connected commerce experience that transcends a single business, information flow is both tailored and timely.
Reflecting on the regulatory environment, Kerr stated that PSD2 stands out as “a massive change” in data sharing. The initiatives “offer an opportunity to the banks, but also a threat if you don’t embrace that opportunity … mobile devices [are] the single most important interfaces,” said the executive.
Diebold Nixdorf, in recognizing this importance of portable commerce, moved to develop mobile apps for banking and retail sectors. That mobile focus comes in tandem with customer loyalty and engagement programs, said Kerr, but, as he noted, “it’s not enough just to look at loyalty schemes.” The average consumer has dozens of applications on their phones, and enterprises face the challenge of using those conduits to try and engage buyers well before the point of actual transaction.
The company’s personalized engagement platform, Vynamic, seeks to span the distance from mobile to physical points like in-store advertising on TV screens to coupons and discounting. These avenues of engagement help enrich the brick-and-mortar retail experience, he said. The executive offered a scenario where someone can walk into a store, try on a pair of shoes, click a button to buy them and then have them shipped to their home — without having to lug them around for the rest of the day.
Kerr said that Diebold Nixdorf’s assets span across banking and retail, and that “Vynamic is about pulling this [all] together.”