eCommerce. mCommerce. eTailing. All the single-letter prefixes can get confusing, but when you get down to it, we’re just talking about people buying and selling things. Commerce is commerce. But there are more ways to get it done than ever before.
You have your cash, checks, credit, debit, PayPal, money orders, bank transfers, and NFC-based mobile wallets. You can make your purchase in person, via voice call, on the web or on your mobile phone. But again, it’s still just a buyer, a seller, and an exchange of money for goods or services.
A few weeks back I wrote about trying to plan and book by trip to the Edinburgh Festival on my mobile device. One issue I quickly encountered was than when it came to purchasing tickets, I had very different experiences depending which channel I used.
The mobile app remembered my credit card details, but the online didn’t. Both let me bookmark shows I was interested in, but the lists were stuck in the particular channel and the final checkout experience was inconsistent as well.
Some companies have figured it out—notably hybris, a commerce software maker that SAP (my employer) bought a few weeks ago. hybris has taken the big picture view: regardless of which channel customers and companies meet, they are still the same customers and companies, doing the same kinds of things.
Instead of talking about multi-channel, we should be talking about omni-channel: giving customers consistent experiences in all channels. Your customers want to be focused on the purchase, and not thinking about—or limited by—which channel they are in at the moment.
On its own, the hybris solution helps a company run all its various sales processes simultaneously, giving businesses a single view of customers, products, and orders, and giving customers a single view and unified experience. The solution’s data and process management engines work behind the scenes to supply proper inventory, pricing, promotion, order and other information across channels: Web, mobile, phone sales, contact center or retail.
SAP completes the picture with both the mobile solutions and back-office enterprise software that tie into hybris. Together, the companies plan to deliver a new level of customer insight and engagement.