Omni-channel excellence can be achieved
‘Omni-channel’ has been a buzzword for major retailers for quite some time now. However, does this mean that all retailers are now getting it right? According to research by Accenture* it seems that while many are now offering a robust and customer-friendly omni-channel experience, there is still quite a bit of work to do before shoppers are truly happy.
Indeed, Accenture’s research found that 39% of consumers felt that the in-store shopping experience needed work. Two of the most popular requests from respondents were to be able to order out-of stock items in store and use Wi-Fi while shopping. However, only 42% of the 189 global retailers surveyed provide the option for sales staff to order out-of-stock items for shoppers and only 28% had free Wi-Fi.
In addition to the above, 32% of consumers stated that they’d like to see a more seamless transition between the three core sales channels – store, online and mobile. More than 40% of those surveyed said they found it hard to complete a sale on their mobile, while 36% said they would order out of stock items via their mobiles while still in store if this was an option.
One of the most overwhelming statistics was that shoppers expect pricing to be the same across all three sales channels (82%) where in reality only 34% of retailers had the same pricing in-store and online for more than 80% of the items assessed.
Given the above it was perhaps also surprising that only 53% of retailers had optimised their websites for tablet devices.
What is clear from this research is that while great strides have been made in offering enjoyable and, perhaps most importantly, seamless omni-channel experiences, there is still much more that needs to be done.
In order to deliver the kind of experience that shoppers expect, retailers must work with retail IT partners, such as PCMS, that understand the importance of a seamless transition between the different methods of shopping.
The need to integrate disparate sales channels presents an architectural challenge for any organisation striving to meet the demands of increasingly tech-savvy consumers that expect the same experience and service, no matter which trading channel they choose to make their purchase.
Implementing an IT solution that is scalable and can therefore translate to work seamlessly across different devices is critical to enabling the type of experience customers expect. Using a software solution, such as PCMS’ VISION OnDemand platform, allows the software to be implemented on in-store devices with the ability to run ‘offline’ for resilience while also allowing the business logic to run centrally in a highly scalable fashion that can be applied to other devices out of the store environment. This means the same high level of service regardless of how the customer interacts with the retailer.
It’s clear from these recent survey results that retailers still have huge opportunities when it comes to omni-channel retailing and really ‘wowing’ customers by meeting their expectations for a consistent experience whether shopping in store or from their own kitchen. By working closely with an IT provider that understands retail, technology and the evolving needs of consumers, excellence can be achieved.