The OmniChannel Organization: Org Design's Biggest Test
2nd December 2019 Admin

The OmniChannel Organization: Org Design’s Biggest Test

Over 20 years ago we heard about the death of the specialty store. Then we all accepted that the shopping-mall was simply the most efficient way to go shopping.

10 years ago we started to see the introduction of convenience stores and realized that made sense, because of how busy we had all become.

Today we continue to see the growth in convenience, however we’re also now hearing all about the combination of clicks and bricks. Namely how we’re shopping more online, alongside a different kind of convenience concept.

So what’s next?

We’ve seen the importance of the customer evolving from a state of ‘customer satisfaction’ to ‘engaged customers’, to now – where the customer should be at the center of a business. ON THE MARK’s (OTM) experience in FMCG and retail has allowed them to see over 25 different projects evolve through to what Treacy and Wieserma call ‘Customer Intimacy’.

What makes an omnichannel organization?

Consumers aren’t just shopping in new ways. Their omnichannel habits also translate into potential gain for companies, if they can adapt accordingly. In a survey, Deloitte stated that over half of consumers’ holiday spending budget is for online shopping, while in-store funds are left at 42%. Without a presence across several key channels, companies may very well be increasingly missing out on ripe opportunity.

Mark LaScola, Managing Principal of OTM, explains that Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach to sales intending to provide customers with a seamless experience regardless of which channel they purchase. What distinguishes omnichannel is its true integration between and across sales channels.”

Omnichannel organization

GfK’s annual Futurebuy Survey has stated that a third of shoppers worldwide are blending online and in-store shopping. This statistic is set to continue and the upward trend shows us that Millennials ‘mobile’ mindset is going to change the way we all look at shopping forever.

So, what does Omnichannel mean for organization design?

OTM has seen mistakes made with Omnichannel, as they can often be framed as technology projects, which have limited impact on only small areas of the business.

LaScola goes on to explain that markets are changing and the omnichannel phenomenon is what will drive a change in how we bring traditional management and the role of social, data and customers together.

GfK studies state that super-connected consumers value experiences more importantly than possessions, so the social experience both online and in-store is still important. So what we want and how we want it is changing, and not just in retail. Experiences in everything from shopping for groceries to managing our healthcare are becoming increasingly important to us. Making sure we get the experiences we want affects everyone from manufacturing to logistics.

Creating a true Omnichannel organization demands changes in the end-2-end value stream, structures, management mechanisms and what we call ‘glue’ activities. And not just in the commercial side of the business, but also in the manufacturing. Overall, changes in behaviors across the business are needed.

OTM has always championed the importance of a customer-centric design, but now more than ever this type of collaborative design is gaining momentum for clients.

Top tips for an omnichannel revolution include:

  • Understand your data.
  • Understand your customers and their patterns.
  • Understand your design and how it must evolve to leverage insight from your data.
  • Establish the customer as your “gravitational pull” for all you do.
  • Bring your data and your customer agenda into a single function – interdependence-with and real influence across all channels, including all relevant business units and functions.
  • Understand your data and your customer again.
  • Finally, mobilize, mobilize, mobilize your people and culture, your value proposition, your brand, you’re thinking and behaving through the process of collaborative organization design.

The future is now and Omnichannel is already here.

Originally published July, 2015.


ON THE MARK’s experience and passion for collaborative business transformation that’s supported by pragmatism, systems thinking, and a belief in people is unparalleled. OTM has been in business for 26 years and is a global leader in organization design consulting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *