We’ve all heard about omni-channel marketing (wasn’t it just
multi-channel last month?), and how it is supposed to be the next big
thing. Most of us have decided that this time it’s not all hype, and we
should brace ourselves for the inevitable changes in the industry.
That is exactly the wrong kind of thinking. When a big change comes to any sector, there are three types of responses.
1. Early adopters.Early adopters jump on the new way of doing things before it has even fully evolved. They take risks with untried processes and systems, and ether fail spectacularly or succeed and shape the market.
2. The just-in-timers.The next segment of the industry has watched the early adopters sink or swim, and sets up their own versions of the successes and steers clear of most of the failures. They don’t take the big risks, and gain moderately but lose little.
3. The Johnny-come-latelies.These are those who couldn’t afford to adapt or refused to see the change for what it was until it was basically too late. They didn’t adopt any new strategies until the old systems had already failed, and they are marginalised because of it. Only those with the strongest brands and deepest coffers dare take this rout on purpose.
So, where are we now? The early adopters have come and gone. Most of them did poorly, as expected, and the successes are well established. The just-in-timers are just about all settling into their new grooves, and reaping the modest, careful rewards they expected. In six months or a year, only the dinosaurs will be left.
What, then, is to be done? Make your supply chain investments now, while you can still claim your share of the omni-channel market. Yes, it will cost more. Yes, I’m afraid it will shrink your margins in the short and even medium term, but it will keep you current and profitable in the long term. We’re at a point when we cannot just wait for the change to become inevitable before we adapt. The process takes too long, and we would be left behind long before we found out feet in the Omni-channel markets.
It is time to act.