Warc Blog

Omnichannel defeats most retailers

4 August 2014
LONDON/NEW YORK: The great majority of retailers in the UK and US are failing to make the most of omnichannel, although US brands are more advanced in most areas apart from click-and-collect, a new study has found.

According to L2, a think tank based in New York, UK retailers are too narrowly focused on click-and-collect at the expense of e-commerce growth and they are failing to prioritise major investment in omnichannel, Marketing Week reported.

While nearly half (44%) of UK retailers offer click-and-collect – compared to just 21% in the US – they lag behind their US counterparts in other services like ship-to-store and cross-channel inventory, the report said.

None of the eight major UK department stores and supermarkets L2 surveyed are described as "e-commerce role models", although John Lewis does well for its in-store investments and Boots, the pharmacy chain, is rated for its e-commerce focus.

However, American retailers and brands do not escape criticism either. Of the 100 brands surveyed in the US, only four – Walmart, Walgreens, Guess and Saks Fifth Avenue – are considered to be e-commerce role models.

Furthermore, only 6% have real-time inventory visibility online and just a quarter (26%) offer in-store pick-up, L2 revealed.

It found Gucci to be the only brand in the luxury category to launch visibility since L2's previous study in 2013 while the accuracy of in-store inventory systems is another problem for US retailers.

L2 found about half (51%) are not able to fulfil in-store pick-ups because they have inaccurate store inventory, CMO reported. Inventory problems also affect the ability of 52% to fulfil ship-from-store online orders.

Claude de Jocas, research associate at L2, said retailers need to focus on aligning technology, compensation incentives, and to train their staff to be more effective and knowledgeable about the company's omnichannel capabilities.

"They are a retailer's most visible ambassador and it is vital that they are able to deliver on the omnichannel vision during day-to-day sales activities," she said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, L2, CMO; additional content by Warc

 
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