UK retailer, Oasis; US brands, American Eagle, Gap and Express; and Kiabi of France, are the top performers in the first omni-channel survey of fashion retailers by Kurt Salmon, the global retail and consumer goods consultancy.
Kurt Salmon said it will shortly be releasing results of a similar survey of grocery retailers.
While the fashion retailers are significantly ahead of the average, not one business demonstrated best practice across all customer touch points, said researchers.
The Kurt Salmon research analysed the customer service offer of 50 leading brands in four channels to market – store, web, mobile and social – as well as how they managed a cross-channel purchase, against more than 60 criteria.
Oasis had the strongest mobile component and also scored particularly well with a customer journey embracing more than one channel, as demonstrated by its reserve online and collect in-store functionality, said Kurt Salmon.
According to Richard Traish, senior partner, Kurt Salmon, omni-channel integration still remains elusive.
“Consumer brands excel in providing superior customer service in one channel but struggle to replicate it across other channels, even though this is where the biggest sales opportunities lie. Even among the companies we analysed, in some areas the best were performing three times as well as the rest so there is a huge opportunity gap to close.”
To take advantage of this, Traish believes retailers need to better understand the importance of deploying a Customer Experience Management (CEM) programme to help with customer acquisition, engagement and retention.
According to the January 2012 Aberdeen Group research report Customer Experience Management – Using the Power of Analytics to Optimise Customer Delight, the turnover of companies that have a CEM programme is twice that of those that don’t. Similar percentage increases are seen in the performance of the sales teams of those companies, as well as in cross-sell and up-sell revenue.
“Our experience with fashion clients and our survey supports these figures,” said Traish.
Traish believes retailers are also handicapped in providing a seamless shopping experience for the consumer because few have integrated customer information databases across all channels.
“The technology is now available to take raw data from any number of databases and use modern integration techniques to create a single customer view in just a few weeks. This information can then be used to see how customers behave at every touch point and to build customer journey profiles by customer type. It can also be enriched by cross-checking it against external databases to identify synergies and additional selling opportunities.
“As retailers and brands look to increase market share in a flat economy, improving customer service and loyalty has to be at the heart of their strategy.”