By Hannah Ash, contributing writer
Study Shows More Barriers Must Be Broken Down
A newly released study by Accenture provides retailers with a look at what they’re doing well, and what needs to be improved upon. Key findings indicate that retailers currently are enjoying a false level of comfort within their omni-channel initiatives, omni-channel experiences now differentiate one brand from another for shoppers, technology must be an investment now, and strategies, not titles, must be changed. Omni-channel is changing the retail landscape, one convenience feature at a time.
Retailers that don’t yet have physical store inventories online may be at a significant disadvantage: the report shows that 39 percent of shoppers are very unlikely to visit a store if the store’s web platform does not provide physical store inventory information. The report shows that 50 percent of shoppers surveyed expect to be able to order online and pick up in store while only one third of retailers surveyed currently offer that option. Though 46 percent of retailers surveyed reported having a dedicated omni-channel team in place, only six percent of retailers reported seeing no significant barriers to becoming an integrated omnichannel company.
As today’s consumers become accustomed to the seamless shopping that omni-channel provides, some key retailers may find themselves disadvantaged. Whole Foods has been slow to bring its decentralized chain to the omni-channel world while Amazon continues to innovate new ways to connect with customers, the retailer’s lack of storefronts could put it at a disadvantage, at least temporarily, as brick and mortar chains such as Walmart move to offer same-day pick up at stores doubling as fulfillment centers. Retailers such as Walmart must take full advantage of all of the resources to stay on top of the omni-channel food chain. On Walmart’s new drive-thru channel, currently in beta, Walmart spokesperson Deisha Barnett commented, “...at Walmart our customers’ needs are changing. They want and need more shopping options and we have the means to give them low prices, wide assortments along with value and convenience in a seamless shopping experience.” Fashion retailer Gap clearly agrees that omni-channel is of utmost importance today; Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Gap Inc. stated, “as the retail landscape evolves, we continue to deliver on our omni-channel roadmap and focus on owning the shopping experience of the future.”