Retailers still far from 'omni-channel maturity'

July 2, 2014

Retailers have barely reached the halfway mark in their journey to omni-channel maturity, according to the results of a new report from Starmount and Retail Systems Research (RSR).

The report is based on survey results from a wide range of retailers that rated themselves on six dimensions of omni-channel maturity: Customer, Product, Inventory, Order/Fulfillment, Locus and Technology.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Retailers ranked weakest in order/fulfillment capabilities. The lowest overall rankings (an average score of 2.7 on a 6-point scale) were in omni-channel order and fulfillment capabilities, highlighting the retail industry’s struggle to reorganize supply chains for more flexibility and a lack of focus on delivering the services their customers expect.  
  • 67 percent of retailers were “inefficient” or worse in integrating in-store and digital experiences. While consumers expect a seamless shopping experience, retailers fall far short in providing this, especially at the store level. Retailers need to accelerate the pace of change in their stores in order to bring in omni-channel capabilities, particularly with in-store mobile devices.
  • 71 percent of retailers are unable to successfully measure omni-channel customer engagement. Moreover, only 34 percent of retailers reported customer data collection capabilities at the “performing” or “differentiator” levels. Overall, customer engagement is not measured, and only basic statistics that are relevant to marketing are tracked at all.
  • Half of all respondents were inefficient or worse at responsibility and ownership of omni-channel inventory. Moreover, 60 percent said they were inefficient or worse at maintaining inventory visibility across channels, and a disappointing 44 percent of respondents report “no capability” when it comes to measuring inventory performance. 

“Part of the challenge in navigating omni-channel change is understanding how much change is really necessary,” said Nikki Baird, Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research, LLC and an author of the report. “Up until now, I think a lot of retailers have tried to protect their businesses from change, rather than embrace it, and this report will hopefully help retailers not only understand how far they have to go, but what that future omni-channel end-state might actually look like.”

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