The history of omnichannel

The history of omnichannel

Omnichannel sounds so familiar but how much do you really know about it? The term is often expressed as “cross-platform” or “cross-channel” since the main idea is to provide customer service across all channels and have them connected to each other. We took a closer look at the history of customer service to understand where omnichannel comes from. It is impressive how we have moved from very limited and simple call centers to complex cross-platform solutions. Let’s get back in time and discover the many interesting facts!

To make it clear let’s define the main difference between multichannel and omnichannel. They seem to be very similar but the core idea is different. Multichannel solutions focus on providing a customer with an opportunity to interact with a company through many channels, however, each channel is working separately. As we have mentioned in our blog post about Customer Service Business Facts “repeating issue to multiple representatives got 89% of customers frustrated” (Super Office 2017) and “90% of consumers say they expect consistency and continuity from a brand across channels” (Microsoft). The solution is omnichannel. With omnichannel you take all your channels and let them work together. You can do that by implementing a help desk. It is the right way to provide a seamless customer experience and fulfill the need of the customers

The story of omnichannel

Some believe that omnichannel has begun in 2007 with the release of the first iPhone, a new device that was supposed to make it easier to provide cross-channel services. But at the start there was nothing called omnichannel or cross-channel, it all began with Customer Centricity and the one responsible for it is Best Buy. Let’s get back to 2003 (yes that’s when it all started!) when Best Buy was struggling to overcome Walmart. It was not easy but they found a brilliant way. Instead of trying to beat Walmart on price, Best Buy decided to focus on customer experience.

“Walmart will never staff enough people in their electronics department to be helpful. So instead of competing on price, we need to be where Walmart will never go.”

The core idea of Best Buy was to become more flexible and put the customer at the center of the enterprise. The vision was to make it possible for the customer to build their own path to purchase by assembling various products and services. At that time Best Buy called the concept ‘co-creation” or “assembled commerce”. There is no official date for the invention of omnichannel, however, the term was introduced to the marketing world in 2010. At first omnichannel did not gather a lot of interest, but just 3 years later the term became a buzzword for marketers and customers alike. In early 2014 omnichannel was called a “must” by Marketing Land. Forbes expressed omnichannel not only as a buzzword but as a challenge for companies to be a part of the revolution. Since then the concept became a natural part of marketing and customer service, the amount of channels is constantly rising and therefore omnichannel is a never-ending development.


It is impressive that already 4 years before we were even introduced to the iPhone, there was a company with such a great vision. Best Buy marked the beginning of the customer service revolution and today omnichannel is a very common solution, customers do not only expect it, they demand it. The biggest brands are investing in customer service because they understand how strong an impact it has on customer experience, which was called the most exciting business opportunity of 2018!

Even if you’re experienced in customer service, creating an omnichannel experience can be difficult.Get the ebook about creating an omnichannel experience in order to get an overview of what you need to get done.

We hope that our article will inspire you to implement omnichannel as a part of your business and begin a new and very successful chapter full of satisfied customers!