By  on October 21, 2013

Forget the term omnichannel — start thinking like a consumer instead.

That’s the conclusion of David Geisinger, head of retail business strategy at eBay Inc., who spoke on “eBay’s Focus on Innovation in an Omni-Channel World” at Stella Summit 2013 at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Geisinger believes that the word omnichannel is “grossly overused.” He noted that because consumers don’t use the term, there’s no reason for retailers and marketers to use it either and that the focus should really be to “start thinking like a consumer,” instead of silos of distribution such as buying online, on a mobile device and in brick-and-mortar.

For Geisinger, thinking like a consumer really means learning how to integrate the platforms so that service becomes the key to engaging the customer.

He gave an example of abandoning an online shopping cart for a particular brand, and then heading into the city the same day and going into that brand’s store and having to find all the things that had been in the online cart to put into the physical cart. His point is that from the consumer’s standpoint, it would be easier and better if he could walk into a physical store and the store associate would know automatically to put the same items in a cart for him. In some respects, those tools are in place given the mobile gadgets that consumers carry.

Similarly, when a consumer buys online and goes to a store for pickup, the experience now is that one has to go to customer service and is lucky if the item is already available for pickup, Geisinger said. Even if the item is already ready for pickup, “that may be efficient, but is that engaging the consumer?”

Geisinger explained that it would be great if the store associate could pull complementary items for what was ordered to hold up to the consumer and suggest whether such and such items are also needed.

Mobile should be thought of as a complement to existing tools to reach customers because not all people need mobile as a platform, he said.

 

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