By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute
Omnichannel 7 Imperatives

When I talk to Chief Information Officers at our members’ food retail companies it seems they are all at different stages in omnichannel strategy development depending on their specific business model. Some are just starting to experiment with aspects of omnichannel. Others have jumped in with both feet to rapidly change their organization to reach the digital shopper. But most food retailers are somewhere in-between these two extremes—having implemented one or two aspects for omnichannel success, but not yet committed to the full road map.

From a business perspective, this makes sense—you don’t want to be the turtle or the hare in the race—but that doesn’t mean food retailers should ignore omnichannel. On the contrary, they need to be building the infrastructure and organizational scaffolding needed to reach the digital shopper of tomorrow. FMI and Nielsen have been working together for the past three years to better understand what it takes to meet the digital shopper. We’ve outlined seven imperatives that are needed to help a food retail organization obtain omnichannel success. These imperatives are:

#1 Align Organizational Structures for Omnichannel Success: Integrate digital offerings in parallel with brick-and-mortar operations. Partner company: AT Kearney.

#2 Address Discrepant Datasets: Scrub master data files for discrepancies; strength in data and accuracy is a critical component to successfully support online sale efforts. Partner company: Nielsen.

#3 Integrate Forecasts to Increase Operational Efficiencies: Integrate online and offline forecasting so the right amount of inventory is available to meet orders through either channel. Partner company: RSi.

#4 Optimize Shopper Insights: Bring retailer and manufacturer shopper information together into a single, comprehensive view of customer insights. Partner companies: Precima & NPD.

#5 Improve Marketing and Promotions: Optimize the management of omnichannel marketing and promotions. Partner company: Nielsen.

#6 Merge Digital and In-Store Shelf Capabilities: Manage the physical shelf and its digital counterpart to create a seamless shopping experience, where consumers see the same information both on or offline. Partner company: Eversight.

#7 Amplify platform landscape and options: Specialty solutions are vital enhancements to planning and e-commerce and offer an improved shopper experience. Partner company: Mi9 Retail.

This year, we’ve teamed up with experts in each of these seven imperative fields to offer resources and insight to help food retailers in their omnichannel efforts. It’s kind of a “choose your own adventure” approach. For example, perhaps your organization has already aligned organizational structures for omnichannel, but now you need to optimize shopper insights. Our white papers on each imperative can help you dive deep—no matter where you currently are on your omnichannel path. And, if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve developed a workbook with thoughtful questions to help your food retail company get started or take the next step in omnichannel.

Learn more about these white papers and workbook at