Understanding the Omnichannel – Clicks to Bricks and Back Again

By the end of 2015, digital channels will influence 64% of offline sales. That’s up from 49% last year. So why are so many retailers not implementing a more seamless approach to their offering?

UK retailers can learn a lot from the recent US finding by L2 Research’s recent Omnichannel Retail 2015 report in conjunction with Rich Relevance.
The report looks at how pure-play online retail providers are falling behind their in-store rivals who have understood data to provide choice and end to end service.

Harnessing the power of the Omnichannel

There are some fascinating insights that both in-store and online retail brands need to take on board to truly understand and harness who the end user (customer) is dictating the omnichannel.

A key finding was shared by Maureen Mullen, Co-founder and Head of Research, L2 in which she stated, “Brands excelling at omnichannel are providing inventory transparency across channels, leveraging their brick and mortar footprint as fulfilment centres, and using technology to enhance customer engagement. In 2012, only one in seven consumers visiting stores were touched by digital; now it’s every two out of three consumers. The biggest mistake a brand can make is size their digital investment to their eCommerce business. To be successful in omnichannel retail, brands should be scaling their digital investment to the size of the overall business.”

Instore pick up

One area where Europe is taking the lead and being adopted slower in the US are in-store pick-up. Only 31% of US retailers offer click-and-collect facility for online shoppers. This is compared to 88% of European retailers who offer the same feature.

This is borne out in the luxury sector where both Gucci and Louis Vuitton posted omnichannel gains in 2015 buoyed by ecommerce capabilities.

Another driver for growth is real-time inventory visibility. 48% of US retail brands have real-time in-store inventory visibility, which is up 12% from 2014. This compares to 50% of UK brands and 46% of EU brands.

The vertical letting the overall side down is the luxury sector that is only providing 8% of this capability. As Diane Kegley, CMO, RichRelevance the co-authors of the research highlighted, “A best-in-class omnichannel experience is ultimately about understanding the shopper very well and using this insight to serve her meaningfully – on time, wherever and however she shops. A retailer’s ability to unify customer and product data across online and store systems is the single greatest factor determining omnichannel success. Achieving a true 360-degree view of the customer allows retailers to expand and strengthen omnichannel capabilities, and go beyond the status quo to develop entirely new experiences that respect the shopper’s goals, behaviour, context and moment-to-moment relationship with a brand and its products.

Reggie James
Having built and sold various technology businesses over the years, Reggie heads the consultancy and commercial side of the business. Approachable and pragmatic, Reggie previously ran the first dot-com to list on the Singapore Stock Exchange as well as developing business strategies for brands whilst at AltaVista and Yahoo! before launching Digital Clarity. As a passive investor, he is also involved in the US public OTC markets.