The Many Faces of Omni-Channel Marketing


Go to for Summit highlights, including VM’s overview story summarizing the presentations of the day, a slide show, PDFs and videos of speaker presentations.

  Martin Bispels of QVC talked about the company’s efforts to reinvent the digital shopping experience.


  Jay Engelmayer stated that’s goal is to become the “largest, most significant online retailer in the industry.”


  Francis Jean, OD, president and CEO of IRIS, described a different approach to omni-channel marketing that did not include selling eyewear online.
In Session Four, Omni-Channel Marketing on the Rise, speakers Martin Bispels, vice president of business development for QVC; Jay Engelmayer, vice president of; and Francis Jean, OD, president and CEO of IRIS, Canada’s largest vision care group, spoke about the blurring of boundaries between digital and traditional brick-and-mortar businesses and how mobile is transforming how consumers act and behave.

“We often get the question, ‘Is QVC in marketing or sales?’ Our answer is yes,” said Bispels. “For all the people buying on QVC, more are watching, or visiting the website, to learn about a brand.”

And Bispels pointed out that is a lot of people. QVC is in 250 million homes globally, 100 million in the U.S. alone, raking in $8.5 billion worldwide. E-commerce makes up 40 percent of their revenue, or $2.9 billion, with mobile comprising 20 percent of all e-commerce. “We’re passionate about customer service and our strategy and investment in technology and people is to build out the multiscreen platform model to reinvent the digital shopping experience,” he said.

Bispels said that in QVC’s quest to “reinvent the digital shopping experience” their customers “trust us to bring them services as well” and that one of the services they are testing is online prescription eyewear. In fact, QVC has currently partnered with online optical retailer, Lookmatic, for a trial run on Bispels concluded that the multimedia shopping giant was “actively exploring ideas in the prescription optical space” and wrapped up his presentation to the 400 optical professionals assembled here by saying “Hi, we’re QVC. We’re interested in this space and we’d like to talk.”

Engelmayer from is very familiar with online prescription eyewear sales. “We are an online marketing company, always have been, always will be, and optical is just the industry we work in. Our goal is to become the largest, most significant online retailer in the industry.”

Citing estimates from The Vision Council—that 2 percent to 4 percent of eyewear customers are going online to buy eyewear—which he described as “tiny but growing” was the reason got into the business. He also pointed out that hundreds of online eyewear retailers have spawned up and that “an online strategy, if done well, can enhance your business.”

To view video highlights of this session, click here.

“What is a threat to your business is not being willing to accept what is right in front of you—people, your customers, are going online. They are shopping online. They are using their mobile devices to buy things,” he added. “The internet is not about finding deals cheaply, it’s about convenience,” Engelmayer said, and cautioned attendees “do not dismiss the medium. Invest. Do not think of the internet as a way to interact with your customers. Think of it as a way for your customers to interact with you and as a way to give you a new source of customers.”

Lastly, Dr. Jean at IRIS The Visual Group, who stated at the beginning of his presentation that selling eyewear on the internet was not the right business model for his retail group, described a different approach to omni-channel marketing. “We think about ‘How can we better use technology to better educate our customers and to expand our business?’ We start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology. The technology is a tool to support our business model.”

He explained that his “customers want to be educated, so we’ve committed our website to education and transparency. The more customers know about us the more chances we have to sell them product and deliver them services. These days, everything is about connection. People want to be connected and we need to connect with them to educate them but an informed customer expects seamless, consistent experience across all channels. Everything is about branding. A strong brand enhances omni-channel effectiveness, marketing effectiveness.”

Jean then impressed the crowd with IRIS’ digital prowess by unveiling a micro-site,, built in just two days exclusively for VM Global Summit attendees to educate them about the full scope of omni-channel marketing initiatives at IRIS.