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A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Accenture and hybris software reveals a disconnect between what consumers want from an omni-channel retailer and the omni-channel capabilities that retailers are providing today.
Omni-channel retail is fast becoming the norm. Consumers have heightened shopping expectations in the era of omni-channel. Despite massive investments in people, process and technology, retailers are struggling to even come close to meeting the omni-channel expectations of their customers.
This comprehensive study from Forrester Consulting offers a view of the omni-channel landscape from both consumer and retailer perspectives. It also provides invaluable insights for retailers to move past common barriers as they invest in omni-channel initiatives.
Infographic: The Omni-Channel Commerce Gap
In November 2013, Accenture and hybris software, an SAP company, commissioned Forrester Consulting to identify the challenges and obstacles that middle- and large-market multi-channel retailers face when deploying a successful omni-channel commerce strategy.
The study was designed to highlight disconnects between retailer omni-channel tactics and consumer requirements; it was also designed to help retailers build a deeper understanding of the business case and framework for investing in omni-channel initiatives.
The study involved conducting in-depth surveys with 256 US and European retail and manufacturing decision-makers involved in digital commerce initiatives and 1,503 multi-channel shoppers.
Forrester’s study yielded four key findings:
Technology investment is critical to enabling exemplary omni-channel customer experience. As consumers expect retailers to provide consistent and unparalleled service across all touchpoints, retailers must adopt new technologies that enable this. Technology investment is often needed to create product and inventory visibility, to enable sales associates to understand customer preferences and purchase history, and to enable the retail store to act as a local fulfillment center.
Omni-channel customer experience is now a brand differentiator. Today, many retailers and branded manufacturers see omni-channel maturity as a key brand differentiator, with increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and brand perception highlighted as the top benefits. This explains why the CMO, not the CIO, VP of eCommerce, or head of omni-channel, is most often responsible for the strategy and execution of omni-channel order fulfillment initiatives.
Many retailers have reached a false state of omni-channel comfort. With many retailers having invested in some level of omni-channel capabilities, it may seem they are far along in their omni-channel initiatives. Yet customer expectations are constantly increasing. Features that only yesterday seemed game-changing are rapidly becoming the commonplace. Retailers must continually revisit and potentially rewrite their omni-channel strategy to keep up.
New titles alone won’t cut it — retailers must abolish siloed channel strategies altogether. Regardless of who is ultimately responsible for omni-channel, a successful strategy requires more than just deep cross-functional alignment. Many retailers today are going further by unifying their P&Ls, organizations, and technology to ensure an obsessive focus on the needs of the customer rather than the needs of legacy channel structures.
Download the full study for more data insight and recommendations.
January 20, 2014
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