Survey: Retailers blame poor data insights for omnichannel struggles

Dive Brief:

  • Retailers admit they are still struggling to deliver omnichannel experiences to consumers due in large part to the absence of quality customer data insights, according to the results of a survey released Thursday by Periscope, a unit of management consultancy McKinsey Solutions.
  • Only 21% of retail executives surveyed at April’s World Retail Congress 2016 event said they are more confident than a year ago about their company’s ability to deliver omnichannel services, and 45% said their efforts are not advancing fast enough.
  • Just 6% of survey respondents described their omnichannel readiness as “Excellent—fully implemented,” while 36% said their companies are still “Testing a proof of concept.”

Dive Insight:

With tech-savvy consumers demanding seamless shopping experiences across all channels, some 62% of retailers have responded by introducing omnichannel services, according to a survey of more than 250 store managers published earlier this month by JDA Software Group.

But just because a majority of retailers support omnichannel efforts doesn’t mean they’re confident about their ability to meet consumer expectations. Most merchants say they aren’t evolving their omnichannel services at the speed that shoppers want and need, according to Periscope.

78% of retail execs surveyed by Periscope confessed there is no unified brand experience across their channels, despite 64% acknowledging that “a well defined cross or multi-channel strategy” is the top innovation that would accelerate digital commerce growth.

When asked to identify the top three challenges hampering their omnichannel strategies, 67% cited a lack of customer analytics across channels. 48% blamed silos within the organization, 45% pointed to poor data quality and another 45% cited an inability to identity customers across shopping trips.

“Consumers are desperate for omnichannel experiences, they work across channels, why can’t their favorite retailers? In their minds it is a simple as that, and it leads to frustration, and diminishes brand loyalty,” Channie Mize, Periscope’s general manager for retail, said in a press release. “The biggest challenge for retailers is the organizational change that needs to take place: The removal of organizational siloes, creation of new processes, and the forming teams that work across, rather than within, channels. These take careful planning and execution, but cannot be ignored, because without them any retailer is doomed to fail.”

Despite their frustrations, retailers have not given up on developing and expanding their omnichannel initiatives. Just last week, embattled Sears took out a $500 million loan earmarked to bolster its turnaround efforts, in particular its omnichannel Shop Your Way program.

Earlier this week, CVS Health announced it will team up with mobile commerce startup Curbside to offer store pickup services at most of its 8,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2016. CVS also is taking an undisclosed stake in Curbside, which says its mobile app-enabled solutions boost monthly customer visits by up to 2.6x and increase repeat purchases by an average of 61%.

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