Omnichannel Retail Index: Getting Ahead Of the Curve

I was recently shopping for a pair of shoes online. This retailer showed in-store inventory availability on their website for the closest store near me. So I purchased the shoes to pick it up later that day! After purchasing the shoes, I got a coupon for 10% off of my next purchase. So I browsed through the site again and found a 2nd pair I liked, but decided to hold off on making that purchase since it wasn’t available at the closest store near me. When I got to the store, I picked up my 1st pair without a problem, and asked about the 2nd pair; unfortunately, it was not in stock. But the sales associate said it can be sent to my house within 2 days, and they even gave me free shipping!

It wasn’t too long ago that I would have given up and walked out of the store without the 2nd pair. Today, the endless aisle functionality made the additional sale.  It’s a sure sign that retailers are moving toward creating that seamless shopping experience we are all talking about.

The day where 100% of shoppers will be 100% connected is fast approaching. Consumer expectations are high and behaviors show a need for a consistency in experience across all media and all channels, and retailers need to keep up.  At home, in stores, or on the fly, customers require a rich, consistent, and personal experience.

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY*

50%

% of retailers showing product availability in store noted on the desktop webpage

49%

% of retailers showing product availability in store noted on the mobile webpage

15%

% of retailers providing the ability to refine search/category landing pages by store availability
* Score based on an index of 100 retailers

The data clearly shows there is room for improvement.  Insights from the upcoming NRF FitForCommerce Omnichannel Retail Index details where the competition is ahead… and lagging behind.

Let’s look at inventory visibility – a topic top-of-mind with all retailers. The NRF FitForCommerce Omnichannel Retail Index results shows that only 50% of the 100 brick-and-mortar retailers analyzed provide in-store product availability on their product detail pages on the desktop (and 49% on mobile).  Without this information, retailers cannot drive additional sales through Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS).  Building the BOPIS volume is an omnichannel challenge worth pursuing. Retailers that offer fast availability of items to be picked up in stores could experience the potential benefits of add-on sales at the store level when orders are picked up, yet only 23% of the retailers studied offer BOPIS.

NRFomnidex-blog-imageAAdditionally, the stats indicate that offering buy online, return to store drives more acceptance of ecommerce due to comfort with a flexible returns policy.  However, the Omnichannel Retail Index shows that only 70% of the retailers shopped offer Buy Online, Return to Store.  This seems to be a no-brainer and a huge impact to Customer Service.  Returning is the stage in the shopping journey where consumers demonstrate the highest preference for physical stores. For a brick-and-mortar store, a return is a potential new sale.A few retailers (only 15%) are taking inventory visibility on the product page to the next level.  We are seeing examples of the ability to filter search results or category landing pages to only show items with in-store availability (Example A).  Retailers need to account for this design change when implementing BOPIS as it extends beyond the product detail page.

There is a clear and common theme when it comes to inventory visibility…

None of a consumer’s omnichannel expectations are possible to achieve without enterprise-wide inventory visibility.

While those are just a few of the NRF FitForCommerce Omnichannel Retail Index take-aways, the Index will provide a strong perspective on what retailers, large and small, should focus on to navigate this digitally influenced, rapidly changing and ever-evolving landscape.  We will provide insights into shipping & handling practices, marketing & promotions, multi-device/cross platform functionality, customer service, social media, international shipping, and online use interface.

Even the biggest retailers do not fully understand how fundamentally digital has changed their business. Customers are digitally empowered and expect a higher level of engagement in their shopping journey.  The data shows that a consistent shopping experience is becoming even more important in the short term.

Are you ready? Contact us to learn more about how YOU stack up.

Will you be at Shop.org Summit 2015? Come chat at booth 1051!