“Omnichannel” has become a buzzword in retail for good reason. New technologies and better data bring the longtime dream of a unified cross-channel shopping experience within reach. In practice, however, most retailers still fall far short of achieving this vision, according to a new eMarketer report, “The State of Omnichannel Retail: Retailers Playing Catch-Up with Consumers.”
Nearly all retailers aspire to creating an omnichannel experience for their customers. In a June 2013 survey conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR), 84% of retailers worldwide said that creating a consistent customer experience across channels was very important, and the remaining 16% described it as somewhat important. In fact, a clear majority of retailers found most aspects of an omnichannel strategy very important.
Yet when it comes to implementing this vision, few retailers are accomplishing it. In the same survey, RSR asked retailers the extent to which they had synchronized their channels across different areas of omnichannel strategy. In all 13 areas, less than one in five respondents reported full synchronization. In no area did more than half report full synchronization or full synchronization in progress. Perhaps most notably, only a third of companies had or said they would soon have a fully synchronized customer experience across all channels.