IBM report reveals gaps in omni-channel retail across Europe

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IBM today announced the results of its first European Omnichannel Capabilities Index report (OmCI). The report found none of the 169 European retailers surveyed are able to deliver a complete omni-channel experience and that retailers still need to work hard on their in-store service, mobile offerings and delivery options.

Retailers were assessed against 75 criteria to measure how well they perform in providing the basics of good customer experience. In a truly omnichannel world, the customer receives personalised and consistent service from any brand touchpoint including mobile, online, high-street and social. A majority of shoppers now use technology in the shopping process, and services such as click-and-collect or buy online and return to store, for example, are expected as standard. But the internal organisation of many companies has not caught up to deliver this seamless experience.

“A growing number of consumers expect retailers to offer a true omnichannel shopping experience,” said Martin Butler, head of retail for IBM UK and Ireland. “The shopping journey is now very different for certain product categories, such as electrical and fashion.  We performed the benchmark to allow retailers to assess themselves against their competition – in order that they prioritise their investment in line with consumer demands.”

The survey reveals:

Inconsistency across services

·        The most consistently delivered criterion is a ‘universal price strategy’ across all channels, with a rating of 76%

·        The least consistently delivered is ‘e-commerce service: in store’ (for example, check-in with a smartphone or self-scanning payment terminal), at only 9%

·        On average, the capabilities which need the most work, beyond in-store service, are ‘mobile apps’ 27%, ‘click-and-collect’ – buying online and picking up in store – at 33.5% and ‘home delivery’ at 34%

Disparity between retailers

·        General merchandise retailers performed highly with an OmCI score of 63%, closely followed by electronics businesses – who want to lead the way with digital technologies – at 57%

·        Furniture sellers achieved the lowest score with 36%

National variations

·        Countries with a high proportion of online sales achieved a higher average score.

·        UK led the way with the top five retailers scoring an average of 73 across all criteria

·        Belgium was the lowest at 30%