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Omnichannel is critical, yet few retail marketers have ‘mastered’ it

by | Feb 2, 2018 | Marketing, Public Relations

A new report published by omnichannel management firm Brightpearl finds an enormous gap between omnichannel importance and execution.

Today, over 90 percent of retailers and brands have an omnichannel strategy or plan to invest in one soon and 87 percent of retailers agree omnichannel is critical or very important to their business success. However, only a small segment (8 percent) believes they have mastered omnichannel or (12 percent) have the right omnichannel technology.

The report, The State of Omnichannel, provides survey findings from 352 retail leaders. In addition to the enormous gap between omnichannel importance versus execution, additional key themes were highlighted:

  • Almost half of retailers (45 percent) say they either do not have the right omnichannel technology or feel they would benefit from additional technology platforms
  • Over half of retailers consider their omnichannel approach a “Work in Progress” and 19 percent say it is a “Struggle” or a “Pipedream.” 74 percent are dissatisfied with their strategy execution and progress
  • More than six out of ten survey respondents say the key payoff from implementing omnichannel successfully is to provide better customer service

Omnichannel is critical, yet few retail marketers have 'mastered' it

“The ability to effectively operate across all possible retail channels is difficult,” said Derek O’Carroll, CEO of Brightpearl, in a news release. “The retail industry is undergoing a metamorphosis unlike anything it has experienced in decades. Customers are demanding, competitors are relentless in their pursuit of customer acquisition, and operational challenges abound as retail extends beyond brick and mortar to include online sales driven by mobile commerce. Disruption in retail is greater than all most all other industries.

“However, none of that is an excuse. Omnichannel execution needs significant improvement. Retailers need to invest more time and resource into technology to effectively implement their omnichannel strategies or face being left behind.”

What does omnichannel mean to retailers?

Omnichannel is critical, yet few retail marketers have 'mastered' it

The competitive retail environment faces relentless change in which success requires technology to capture and analyze data and learn deep insights about customers to ultimately enhance the entire customer experience.

O’Carroll adds, “Today’s customer expects retailers to know him or her. This is made difficult when the merchant spends considerable time on cost-consuming backend processes. Instead, technology that automates back office processes like order fulfillment, carrier integrations, automated accounting and integrated purchase ordering can free retailers to focus more time on creating authentic omnichannel experiences across platforms.”

Embracing the promise of omnichannel is not the same as implementing strategies and technology. Just four years ago, less than 50 percent of retailers pursued an omnichannel approach. Today the interest is high but the execution needs substantial improvement. Omnichannel strategies and platforms use are ineffective or not delivering on their promises.

Download the full report here.

Which of the following best describe how your company views omnichannel?

Omnichannel is critical, yet few retail marketers have 'mastered' it

“The State of Omnichannel” report results are from an electronic survey conducted between August and September 2017. Brightpearl received qualified responses from leading retail executives headquartered primarily in the United States. All respondents come from the top companies in retail, information technology, financial services, consumer products, education, and other key sectors. Total number of employees at respondent companies was nearly equally split—49% had between 1-25 employees, 50% had between 51-5,0001 employees.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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