CHICAGO: Brands and retailers are continuing to leverage various strategies that ultimately hamper the omnichannel experience for shoppers, according to a leading executive from Kimberly-Clark.

Bala Mallela, the company's senior director/shopper insights, discussed this problem while speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation's Omnichannel Retail event in Chicago.

A common pain point in the current process, he suggested, is that marketing efforts and the "opportunity to buy" generally remain entirely separate. (For more, including how Kimberly-Clark is enhancing its capabilities in this space, read Warc's exclusive report: Kimberly-Clark targets the omnichannel consumer.)

Channel-specific offers are another enduring tactic, with brands running unique promotions with individual retailers, and tying them to loyalty cards.

These deals exclude vast numbers of shoppers, and often are not executed consistently across a retailer's bricks-and-mortar stores and digital sites.

A related obstacle is that it is extremely difficult for consumers to track down the best possible deal on the products they want, Mallela argued.

Walmart, the retailer, has tried to remedy this issue, he added, with "Savings Catcher", a web platform where customers upload receipts and automatically receive rebates if cheaper prices were advertised elsewhere. "That is an attempt to identify and simplify … the best offers," Mallela said.

A further stumbling block faced by shoppers is that the ability to buy goods online if they are out of stock at physical stores is "inconsistent" at present.

"This is a real issue," Mallela told the ARF audience. "The brick-and-mortar and the dotcom worlds, for some retailers, are not as well connected."

And the net result of these collective difficulties has been widespread confusion among shoppers – with sub-optimal results for brands.

"Clearly, consumers are confused," Mallela continued. "So, therefore, what are consumers doing? What do they do? They go to the lowest price. That's what they're doing.

"Consumers are currently stitching their own path to purchase [together]. And that path to purchase is basically the lowest price, and, of course, convenience. And we are all losing along the way."

Data sourced from Warc