These days it’s almost impossible to read an article, attend a tradeshow or search for a job in online retailing without encountering at least some mention of omnichannel. A quick google search yields over 12 million results for “omni channel”.
Omnichannel has been defined as many things to many people depending on your focus. Some think of it in terms of devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops), some terms of in store behavior (show rooming), while others define it by shipping locations (ship-to-store or ship-from-store).
But retailers should never lose sight that even when it comes to omnichannel solutions, it’s still all about the consumer. A compelling definition, which was presented during an IRCE session at this year’s conference, came from Michelle Garvey, CIO of Ann, Inc. (which she attributed to Macy’s).
“Omnichannel solutions provide the means for the consumer to choose the channel and device in which to interact with your brand and still receive a very consistent experience. It also means you have to leverage your inventory across all channels.”
Many retailers, it turns out, agree with this definition.
In a recent study conducted by Retail Systems Research (sponsored by Hybris), retailers were surveyed about progress with omnichannel initiatives. The single most important process identified, designated ‘Very Important’ by 84% of survey respondents, was “consistent customer experience across all channels.” The second most important, at 80%, was “inventory visibility across all channels”.
So why all the hubbub? Why do so many news stories, trade show sessions, jobs titles, and studies cover omnichannel retailing? The most concrete, widely-believed reason is that a customer who engages with a retailer across multiple channels will be a more profitable to the brand. In the RSR study, 76% of respondents agreed with this statement, while only 6% thought said customer to be equal or less profitable (another 18% didn’t know). In fact, retailers who have implemented successful omnichannel solutions report multi-channel consumers spending 3 times more than single-channel consumers.
Other key factors include consumer behavioral changes and demand. As more and more consumers shop with smartphones and tablets, retailers who do not engage consistently in these channels will miss out.
SmartHub®, Innotrac’s proprietary benchmarking tool, provides clients and strategic partners with intelligence and analysis of the online retail purchase cycle. In our study, we evaluate over 225 leading merchants across 81 data points, tracking the entire online shopping experience from retailer policies, to ordering, shipping, packaging, and returns.
Our SmartHub® Benchmarking study is intended to provide an objective analysis of the online retail purchase cycle from a consumer’s perspective. We engage with online retailers as any customer would, collecting data and reporting on our findings. In this white paper we evaluate our findings as it relates to omnichannel processes, including results from our studies conducted between October of 2012 and June of 2013 and evaluating the following cross-channel activities:
- Support of online shopping via mobile devices
- Retailer policies for purchasing online and picking up or returning items in stores
- Evaluating orders which were purchased online, and fulfilled through a store
- Knowledge of customer service (phone and chat) of retailer inventory online and in stores
Fill out the form below and click ‘Submit’ to download your copy of our SmartHub® Omnichannel Analysis.
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What’s Next? Our SmartHub® team conducts new studies every 6-8 weeks and has recently added a customer service evaluations to our data points. Stay tuned for more reports on our findings and trends in the omnichannel and online retail ordering cycle.