Organizational, operational and technology challenges are hampering retailers' omnichannel efforts; 40 percent of retailers report they are having difficulty integrating back-office technology across all of their channels.
Omnichannel efforts are demanding more of IT, requiring a consolidated, accurate view of real-time inventory across stores and distribution centers, according to a new survey from Accenture and hybris software, an SAP company.
"As customers expect retailers to provide consistent and contextual service across every channel and interaction, retailers need to adopt new technologies that enable this critical transformation to omnichannel customer engagement and service," said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer at hybris. "This is going to be vital to meeting customers' expectations and, frankly, survival for retailers."
Although 46 percent of decision makers surveyed said they already have a dedicated omnichannel team, – one that includes members of all functions – conflicting priorities and organizational silos remain a key challenge. Two additional key barriers identified as preventing retailers from becoming an integrated omnichannel company are difficulty in sharing customer data and analytics between channels, countries or locations and a lack of in-store associate training.
Retailers view omnichannel maturity as a key brand differentiator for their companies, and improving their ability to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience across all channels, as a top priority. According to another study by Forrester Consulting, nearly all – 94 percent – of retail decision makers surveyed as part of the research said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omnichannel company.
Omnichannel strategies are a must and shoppers are becoming more demanding. Nearly three quarters, or 71 percent of shoppers, expect to view a retailer's in-store inventory online, according to Accenture. This feature has grown increasingly popular among brands that offer click-and-collect or ship-to-store programs. The survey results also indicate that 50 percent of shoppers expect retailers to offer click-and-pick-up programs and 39 percent of shoppers say they are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer's store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information.
Personnel problems were the next most cited barrier to omnichannel success: only 46 percent of retailers have a dedicated omnichannel team in their home offices and another group of retailers said a lack of in-store associate training presented another hardship.
-See this Accenture and hybris Software study
-See this Forrester Consulting study
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