U.S. Retailers Admit They Aren't Tweaking Store Operations To Meet Omnichannel Needs

Too many big U.S. retailers aren't adapting store operations to omnichannel realities, according to a study by SD Retail Consulting. For example, only 29 percent of the chains SD Retail surveyed have implemented in-store pick-up options, and only 24 percent plan to start testing such a program by late 2013.

Even harder to find are mobile point-of-sale systems—only 18 percent of chains have rolled out mobile POS in a significant number of their stores. Most of those retailers still haven't rolled it out to the entire chains. And mobile POS is typically used for only a few specific functions, such as line busting or inventory search, instead of capabilities like CRM, labor scheduling and traffic counting.

Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. chains surveyed have adjusted their associate compensation to take into account cross-channel sales. As a result, in-store associates may work hard to make a sale that's finally closed online—and the associate gets no commission.

Fully 80 percent of retailers said they haven't invested enough in training in-store store staff in how to handle multichannel customers and how to deal with showrooming, competitive price-matching, in-store pick-up requests or customers who have acquired specific product knowledge—or misinformation—on the Web. And fewer than 25 percent said store managers were providing the leadership needed to drive improved productivity in a multichannel environment.

What's truly troubling about these numbers is how they compare with another recent survey result: 56 percent of American adults are now smartphone owners, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reported on Wednesday (June 5). That's a clear sign that shoppers are onboard with the idea of omnichannel retailing. The fact that many big retailers have fallen behind their customers suggests that they're ever more at risk, both from online competitors and from omnichannel retailers who have already embraced the opportunity.

For more:

- See this Chain Store Age story

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