Report: Omnichannel Retailers Still Mastering the Basics
Retailers in a FitForCommerce index have adopted less than 60 percent of standard best practices to meet omnichannel customers’ evolving needs and demands.
Even retailers at the top of the omnichannel list are missing the boat on adopting standard best practices, according to Omnichannel Retail Index for 2017.
A creation of consultancy FitForCommerce, the benchmark study showed the top 10 retailers have adopted between 68 percent and 78 percent of best practices, excluding the most innovative services and technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
The average score for all retailers and brands was just 58 percent, up 2 percentage points from 2016. Overall, retailers performed best in the mobile category, with a 74 percent adoption rate, and worst at the store level, coming in at 47 percent. The web score was 57 percent and cross-channel, 51 percent.
Among the 100 brick-and-mortar and 20 online only retailers across 20 verticals tracked by the index on their performance against 250 criteria related to web, mobile and in-store best practices, L.L. Bean was top among web stores, with Best Buy leading in the mobile category and Crate & Barrel cited for best adoption of cross-channel/store best practices.
Closing the sale is among the most critical areas of doing business and the Omnichannel Retail Index found that the most implemented best practice, adopted by 85 percent of index retailers, was saving the cart, which enables shoppers to leave the site but continue shopping from the same device later on. However, the save for later feature, which allows shoppers to save items in the cart for later purchase, is offered by just 28 percent of retailers.
Shipping cost is another factor related to finalizing a purchase, thus 71 percent of retailers offered an estimated shipping cost feature with the cart. Other sales-closing attributes are editing products in the cart, offered by 53 percent; and including product recommendations in the cart (68 percent). Showing up less frequently are editing products at checkout (24 percent) and threshold messaging (30 percent), such as encouraging shoppers to buy more to get free shipping or other benefits.
Once the sale is made, delivery takes precedence. This is another area with room for growth by retailers, as just 35 percent now provide an expected delivery date at checkout. Next day delivery is an option with 73 percent of index retailers—up from 68 percent in 2016; and same day delivery was available from 17 percent of respondents vs. 8 percent a year earlier.
Free shipping is on customers’ wish lists and the movement is toward some form of free shipping, either unconditional or with limitations. The index results showed 53 percent set a minimum order requirement for free shipping, while 28 percent offer unconditional free shipping. Free return shipping was adopted by 47 percent, up from 35 percent previously.
Among the studies other key findings were:
•Buy online/return in store was the most implemented function, with a 92 percent adoption rate. This is up more than 22 percent from 2016. Other services—buy online/pick up in store and reserve online/pick up in store—have seen slower acceptance rates at 41 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
•Inventory look up, which provides real time information on product availability, is important to online and in-store consumers. At the store level, 66 percent have adopted a process for finding a product in a different store or online.
•With ecommerce representing 13 percent of total retail sales in 2017, improving the search process is critical. Among the highest adopted practices are site search with auto complete/auto suggest functionality (81 percent) and faceted navigation on category pages (84 percent).
•Ratings and reviews as well as images help seal the deal. Ratings and reviews on product detail pages are adopted by 80 percent of retailers. And 91 percent of those in the index used more than one photo on the product detail page. Areas for improvement are allowing consumers to upload photos with reviews and adding product videos and 360-degree views on the detail pages.
•Social media basics are in place, but there is room for more progress. While 79 percent put social media icons in their headers or footers, just 46 percent allow customers to upload photos online and only 31 percent pull photos from social media via hashtags.
•Although recognizing the importance of email marketing, retailers are still hiding email signups on the footer of their sites (86 percent) and less than half email store receipts or have associates ask for email addresses when making an in-store sale.
•Despite 90 percent saying they offer two or more ways to contact customer service, only one-third put that information in their website header and just half put customer service contact data into the cart with the purchase.