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What Is an Omnichannel Champion and Why Do Retailers Need One?

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Want to take your omnichannel strategy to the next level? Establishing an omnichannel champion could help you do just that.
What Is an Omnichannel Champion and Why Do Retailers Need One?

Any retailer who wants to go omnichannel (or is in the process of doing so) knows it’s easier said than done. Between wrangling with the technology to integrate all your systems and driving consumer adoption for your initiatives, getting your organization on the right path to omnichannel is a huge challenge.

Which initiatives do you implement? What’s the approach and time frame for implementation? How do you get the company on board? Those are some tough questions, and they highlight the fact that going omnichannel requires both cultural and operational changes within the organization.

Enter the omnichannel champion. Sometimes referred to as chief omnichannel officer, VP (or director) of omnichannel, or manager of omnichannel strategy, this person’s role is to ensure that your organization’s omnichannel strategy is carried out successfully.

If you’re planning to establish this position in your company (and you definitely should), here are some responsibilities that you should assign.

Come Up With a Road Map

What’s your company’s omnichannel strategy and how do you get there? That’s the main question that your omnichannel champion must answer. They’re in charge of creating a road map that outlines the initiatives you’ll implement, how you’ll do it, and when. And while it’s not necessarily the champion’s sole responsibility to develop your entire omnichannel strategy and vision, it is their job to make sure that strategy is shared.

This may entail getting input from multiple areas of the business, conducting planning sessions, mapping the customer journey, and exploring the marketplace (consumers, competitors, technologies) to understand what the company needs.

Once the road map is completed, he or she must communicate that plan to the rest of the organization and ensure that everyone understands—and is on board—with the company’s strategy.

Break Down Silos

You won’t be able to provide a seamless, cross-channel shopping experience if your business is divided into silos. That’s why part of the omnichannel champion’s job is to break down these organizational barriers.

Whether it’s through restructuring your organization, introducing new ways to communicate, or promoting a culture of openness and collaboration (or all of the above), it’s his or her responsibility to unite departments, open up lines of communication, and ensure everyone is working towards the same vision.

Oversee Systems and Logistics

The systems, processes, and technologies you have behind the scenes play a significant role in the success of your programs. That’s why your champion must see to it that the back-end components of your omnichannel efforts are functioning like a well-oiled machine.

It’s his or her job to coordinate with teams who handle technologies, processes, and people—such as IT, logistics, and operations—and ensure that they’re in sync and able to execute initiatives without a hitch.

Oversee Development and Roll Out

Your omnichannel champion has to do more than just come up with ideas and initiatives. He or she must also see them through. Overseeing omnichannel programs is a critical part of the role, and he or she should have a say in how the projects’ different teams develop and implement programs.

If you’re redesigning your website, for example, part of that vision might come from him or her. Introducing a “buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere” project? Your champion is responsible for making sure it’s implemented on time and within your budget.

Develop Adoption Strategies

Your omnichannel champion must also have a hand in driving awareness and adoption of your programs. He or she must work closely with the marketing team to leverage both digital (SEO, SEM, mobile, email) and traditional (in-store advertising, direct mail) methods to get the word out about your programs and encourage customers to participate, as well as with operations personnel and store associates to activate omnichannel order fulfillment.

Measure the Results of Your Programs

Your omnichannel champion also needs to measure the success (or failure) of your efforts. They must determine the metrics, KPIs, and milestones that the company needs to track in order to figure out if your programs are working. They need to be able to answer the question “What does success look like?” Is it more website or app users? A boost in customer satisfaction? An increase in employee engagement? Maybe it’s all or none of these. Whatever it is, your omnichannel champion must determine how to identify, measure, and communicate those metrics and KPIs with the rest of the company.

Ready to Establish a Champion?

Hopefully, this post gives you a better idea of what an omnichannel champion is and why you need one in your company. The specific duties of this individual will vary from one organization to the next, but the responsibilities mentioned above should help you craft the right job description and find the best person for the role—and in turn, solidify a successful omnichannel strategy going forward.

Are you ready to turn your omnichannel strategy into a reality? Watch this on-demand webinar from Internet Retailer with special guests from GameStop and Retail Systems Research to learn how brick-and-mortar merchants can leverage their stores’ advantage with technology that boosts logistics and distribution power. Watch the webinar now »