3 Predictions on How Omnichannel Will Be Omnipotent in 2016

It’s already happening. Gone are the days of fighting for parking spots near the mall food court and pushing rattling shopping carts through aisle after aisle. Omnichannel is allowing consumers to shop from the comfort of their living room couch or their car and from any device, making the shopping experience more on-demand than ever before.

Omnichannel enjoyed buzz-worthy status in 2015, but this is just the beginning. We predict 2016 will be an exciting year for omnichannel to become “omni-essential,” driven by a desire to satisfy consumers wherever and whenever they shop. If Alibaba’s Singles Day sales or the Girl Scouts’ Digital Cookie program is any guide, the retail world better buckle up for what’s sure to be a wild digital ride.

Here are 3 predictions for what we expect omnichannel to look like in 2016:

Brands will launch their own marketplaces

By 2030, 30% of all purchases will be made through an online community, according to IDC Research. Starting in 2016, brands across all categories will begin launching their own marketplaces to make it easier for consumers to find their products across retailers.

For the past decade, direct-to-consumer was uncharted territory for brands, and a new and scary game to play. Today, led by LEGO and other success stories, brands are rising to the challenge. Thankfully for retailers, D2C is not a zero sum game. If a brand does a good job selling direct, retailers that carry that brand will likely sell more as well. Also, it gives brands the valuable opportunity to have direct experience with their end consumer’s online behavior.

Head of Digital Business will be the hottest new job in B2B2C

Recent market research indicates that only 25% of brands believe their organizations are ready to adapt to future shopping channels. Similarly, only 29% of brands surveyed agreed they know how to capitalize on the growing ecommerce and m-commerce markets.

As the consumer shopping experience becomes even more digital and diversified, ecommerce organizations will need to appoint an omnichannel expert to assist in predicting and responding to shifting consumer demands. The Head of Digital Business (as we’re calling it) will work with partners along the supply chain to optimize product content for new channels, as shoppers access the digital marketplace through mobile devices, social media and more.

Internet brands will go brick and mortar

There’s a lot of talk about brick-and-mortar stores going online, but the opposite is true as well. I recently discussed how online beauty subscription box provider Birchbox is entering the physical retail arena. Expect to see this more often. You probably already have if you’ve found yourself shopping at a TOMS or Warby Parker. The simple truth is that people enjoy the act of shopping in store and always will. Online brands know this, and will continue to make their products available offline as well to satisfy growing omnichannel demand.

Omnichannel will mean a transition from online to offline for some, and offline to online for others, but regardless of the means, an excellent and always-available consumer shopping experience is the end goal. This year, plan not just for new channels but for new consumers. After all, they are the ones who decide whether omnichannel organizations sink or swim.

Rob Gonzalez is the co-founder and vice president of business development for Salsify

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