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ETail West marketer consensus: Breakdown silos

February 28, 2013

PALM DESERT, CA – Breaking silos and creating a succinct experience across all channels was the focus at Day Two of eTail West.

In the day’s opening remarks, Robert Cell, CEO of MyBuys, introduced the topic that would be referenced continuously by keynote speakers and panelists alike.

The idea of breaking down silos means that a company must abolish the black and white divisions that lie between departments. Having a department dedicated to mobile may seem important in such a mobile-driven environment.

However, a separate department isolates, rather than incorporates mobile in the overall business plan.

Instead of having niche groups with one common expertise, executives with an understanding of mobile, social or one of the many other silos, should be interspersed throughout each department, sharing their specialty with others who may not be as well-versed.

This idea seems to go hand-in-hand with creating a multichannel approach. What better way to unite different branches than to combine the channels that separate them all?

Ongoing efforts
Stephanie Pike, vice president of ecommerce at Office Depot, referenced her company’s effort to create a blended experience for customers across all channels.

An example of this is the tech-empowered Office Depot store associate, who is able to work with a customer on the digital platform while in a bricks-and-mortar environment.

Lee Bissonnette, president and general manager of ecommerce at Ecko Marketing, was one of the many others to agree with this stance to create a simple, seamless experience.

The retailer’s omnichannel plan is, in some ways, to eliminate having different channels at all. Instead, the company would like to make experiences match one another across the board. One way it does this is to integrate Web technologies into the in-store experience to better match it to what occurs on desktop and mobile.

Not just technology
Brian Walker, senior vice president of strategy at Hybris Software, also mentioned the importance of breaking silos, noting that part of this is breaking away from the emphasis on technology.

According to Mr. Walker, it is not just about technology. Technology is an enabler, but it really comes down to user experience at this point.

It is no longer technology that is setting retailers or brands apart, but rather how the company is using that technology to best deliver the overall experience.

That is precisely why the entire business needs a shake-up.

Marketers needs to break into all of the silos – from business, to IT, to mobile – and create sectors that will give them the best end result, instead of the easiest path to get there.

It is not good enough to create a new label for a position that incorporates omnichannel or multichannel.

Businesses truly have to evolve their models if they want to keep up with the fast-paced change in the digital space.

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