Martin Schlueter

Truly Omnichannel

December 3, 2018 / Martin Schlueter / eCommerce, TechTalk

When working with customers and prospects, delivering content to different channels is always an essential requirement. So it’s no surprise that when asked if they provide omnichannel channel content delivery, all vendors respond the same way: “Yes, of course. We’re omnichannel out of the box”.

It’s easy to make a claim like this, but it’s much harder to deliver a solution that truly meets the needs of enterprise customers. What does it mean to deliver a genuine omnichannel experience?

Multi vs OmniChannel

The truth is, that when most people talk about omnichannel delivery, they’re really thinking of multichannel. But what‘s the difference and what do you really need?

Delivering your content (including images, videos, text, and documents) to different channels or apps is easy. You create (or link) the content item and generate an appropriate output format for each channel. Sometimes these formats are generated directly from the CMS. Other times, 3rd party solutions will be used to convert data formats or offer an easy to use editorial interface.

Sounds great. But is it really what you need? You will definitely have content that is appropriate for every channel, but you’ll also end up with separate content silos that deliver content independently to all of your digital endpoints.

Is that what you want?
Or did you mean to deliver a single content object, out of a single user interface – in a synchronized and coordinated manner – into each and every channels? That’s truly OMNI-channel. And it comes with some complexity, because you have to take care of more than just technical requirements.

For example, when you make the leap to true omnichannel delivery, page-based user interfaces and in-site editing are no longer valid approaches – simply because you are no longer publishing to just “a page”.

“AND” NOT “OR”

One of our customers – a Finnish Airline – began Phase 1 of their relaunch project by doing all of the following things at once:

  • Setting up a responsive HTML5 website for their corporate brand site

AND

  • Integrating content into their booking engine, based on a headless architecture

AND

  • Reusing the content in a native app for their travel agency

AND

  • Showing the same content in their IFE System (In-Flight Entertainment)

AND 

  • Automatically translating the content into different languages.

All of that was just phase one of the project – and they went live months ago.More channels – including digital signage and eCommerce integration – will be added in the weeks and months to come.

That’s a truly omnichannel approach right from the start – creating and reusing content everywhere from a single UI.

Think outside the box

And that’s just the beginning. Once you’ve embraced a truly omnichannel approach, you can start to think outside your traditional digital box and handover your content to print channels, in-store displays, out of home screens, smart TVs, smartwatches, social channels or digital billboards. And there‘s even more to come…

Keep control

Coming back to content creation, you now have a problem. How can you manage the huge number of channels and formats within one central content hub and make sure that every content item is displayed everywhere in the most appropriate manner?

The only way to accomplish this it to get away from a page-based approach and separate content from rendering and final presentation. Being able to reuse and display the same content with a “fragmented preview” that shows how the content will look in different channels and contexts  will help you to keep in control across all of your channels. It also gives you the power to overwrite certain object for a specific output channel – external billboards, for example.

There’s an impressive video that shows how CoreMedia can help you handle this complexity within an Omni Channel environment for both online and offline (e.g. brick and mortar) experiences.

There has been a lot of hype recently about headless CMS solutions. But most of these vendors struggle with exactly this vital requirement. Since there is no head they simply show the raw data format without providing any kind visual representation of the final customer experience. (See our Blog Post on “The missing piece”)

Make sure that you’re not flying blind by choosing a CMS that supports true omni-channel support with fragmented preview capabilities. Or you can use a “head optional” approach as Doug Heise describes in his post “Solving the CaaS Dilemma

What about your ideas?

Bringing together content, channels and user context is not simple. But as demonstrated in the examples above – it’s definitely possible.

But what about your ideas? How are you dealing with the content challenges of a truly omnichannel world?

We’d love to hear your feedback. So, please leave a comment, or eMail us at martin.schlueter@coremedia.com


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