Is Omni-channel the Panacea people think it is?

Steven Dennis had a great blog post today on the definition and concept of omni-channel in retail.

Some of my takeaways:

  • Omni-channel is not enough by itself to grow customers, anymore.  This is evidenced by the stagnating revenue and financial number of most of the larger retail chains.
  • There was a time that omni-channel was such a unique feature for consumers that they actually picked who they buy from based on that.  For retailers in 2016 omni-channel is table stakes, it’s the price of entry.
  • You’ve got omni, now what?  Are you missing other key revenue-driving factors in your business as you’re building out your omni-channel systems?

Ultimately all technology is a set of tools for retailers NOT the product, not the experience, not customer service and warranty and environmental consciousness and all the other things that are important to people in today’s world.

The challenge with Omni-channel and the technology is that retailers have been catching up to ecommerce sellers for 20 years now and they will rarely (if ever) be better than Amazon, for a variety of reasons.  The new commerce tools and platforms available to retailers must be omni-by-DNA. , and then the retailers needs to get to the real work.  Product sourcing, selection, display, merchandising, delivery, customer support and service – ALL in an omni platform.




What is “Smart Money”?

As builders and founders we often hear the advice to find Smart Money, rather than just money (or dumb money?? if there is such a thing.)

So working with the founder of another local startup we started to put together a list of what Smart Money really means to us.  Here’s the list, let us know what you think.  Note that this list is for Web/Mobile products and startups, not as fully applicable to other types of startups.  Each criteria gets it’s own weight based on your specific needs but perhaps this will help in getting some sense of a standard.

Generally smart:
– Experience in starting and building a web/mobile company in the last 10 years.
– Experience building and growing web apps or websites
– Have built or was deeply involved in building and growing native apps as part of their past/current business.
– Knows and can provide real-life advice on growth marketing and “the new customer acquisition” methods.
– Access to funding and recruiting leads.
– Access to prospective customers.
– Social media savvy.
– Has liquid funds to invest in your time frame.
– Expresses passion about the concept. (gets the vision quickly)
– Be experienced enough to help when things get rough, not jump the gun.
– Does not meddle daily in operations.
– Respects the leadership of the team.
– Experience in exiting companies.
Really smart:)
– experience in your specific vertical.
– B2B and/or B2C experience – depending on your model.
– Has access to c-level executives in customer orgs.
– Has deep and active network in your network.
Of course as they say all money is good.  BUT, is it really?  Have you ever experience being married to the wrong investor?  Bottom line, it’s better to not work people you don’t really feel excited about than to take anyone’s money, specially as first time founders.  If you have past experience in funding and building new enterprises from the ground up you will know how to handle even “just money” investors properly.  Until then make sure you find the right investor for your new venture.