Retailers struggle with omnichannel experience
Written by Scott Thompson
Organisational, operational and technology challenges are hampering retailers’ efforts to meet customers’ demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints. That’s according to new research from Accenture and hybris software.
Retailers view omnichannel maturity as a key brand differentiator for their companies, according to the study, Customer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Commerce Gap. However, 94 per cent of retail decision makers surveyed said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omnichannel company.
The study is based on an online survey commissioned by Accenture and hybris, and conducted by Forrester Consulting with more than 1,500 multi-channel shoppers and 256 decision makers from retail and manufacturing organisations across the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany. It found that 71 per cent of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online, and 50 per cent expect to buy online and pick up their purchase in a physical store. Yet just 36 per cent of the retail decision makers surveyed said that their companies are able to provide customers with in-store pickup of online purchases, online visibility of cross-channel inventory and store-based fulfilment of online orders.
Forty per cent of retailers reported that they are having difficulty integrating back office technology across all of their channels. Although 46 per cent of decision makers said they already have a dedicated omnichannel team, conflicting priorities and organisational silos remain a key challenge. Two additional key barriers identified as preventing retailers from becoming an integrated omnichannel company are difficulty in sharing customer data and analytics between channels, countries or locations and a lack of in-store associate training.
Meanwhile, in-store pickup of purchases by consumers emerged as a key capability that bricks and mortar retailers must be able to provide their customers if they expect to compete effectively against online-only retailers. Forty seven per cent of the customers surveyed said they use in-store-pickup options to avoid online shipping costs, 25 per cent so they can collect their orders on the day of purchase and 10 per cent simply because they find it more convenient to pick items from a store than having them shipped to their home.