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Study: Large retailers lag in omni-channel efforts

Retail Editor 2 -- Home Textiles Today, June 5, 2013

Chicago - Big retailers are behind the curve in terms of building seamless integration between their online and in-store shopping experiences, according to a new study by SD Retail Consulting, a leading strategic retail advisory firm and unit of Hilco Trading.

The study covered 35 leading retailers in the U.S. and UK, including department store, specialty store, big box, grocery and convenience store chains, most with revenues of over $1 billion.
"Multi-channel is disrupting store operations across real estate footprint, inventory ‘location,' customer service and selling and is the most significant challenge to store operations that I have seen in the last 25 years," said Joe Madigan, vp, store operations, SD Retail Consulting.
Among the findings:

  • 80% of retailers surveyed are not effectively training in-store staff to address the needs of multi-channel shoppers, including how to deal with "show rooming," competitive price-matching, in-store pick-up requests, or specific product knowledge customers may have gained from the web;
  • Only 29% of U.S. retailers surveyed have implemented in-store pick-up options, and only 24% are planning to unveil a pilot program by late 2013;
  • Just 18% of U.S. retailers have implemented mobile POS systems across a significant portion of their stores, often rolled it out to select groups of stores;
  • Mobile POS is typically used for only one or two specific uses (i.e. line busting or search/assistance within specific departments), rather than leveraging the full extent of its capabilities (CRM, labor scheduling, traffic counters, etc.);
  • Fewer than 10% of retailers surveyed have created a method to incentivize and recognize store-level associates for cross-channeling selling.

"The seamless customer experience and speed of change led by pure play e-retailers such as Amazon is setting a high bar for retailers operating both bricks and mortar and e-commerce channels. The pace of change to meet this high bar needs to accelerate as the pressure from these new competitors continues to grow," said Antony Karabus, president of SD Retail Consulting."

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