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US Retailers Falling Short On Omnichannel

Whatever U.S. retailers are doing to integrate mobile, online and in-store shopping…it’s not really working.

Two research studies by Accenture on what the consulting company is calling “seamless retailing,” released yesterday (March 25), show a significant disparity between what consumers want (in terms of products and pricing) and what retailers are currently able to deliver across multiple channels.

Of the 750 shoppers surveyed by Accenture, only 42 percent reported that they found it easy to complete a purchase on a mobile device. As for what area of the shopping experience is most in need of improvement, 39 percent of consumers polled cited the brick-and-mortar store (as did a majority, incidentally, in Accenture’s survey last year).

In regard to the in-store experience, surveyees expressed a desire for an easy process for ordering out-of-stock merchandise (19 percent) and free Wi-Fi (15 percent).

The second-biggest improvement called for — attributed to 32 percent of respondents — is for retailers to better integrate their physical, online and mobile stores. According to the studies, only 22 percent of U.S. retailers satisfactorily enable completion of in-store shopping on a tablet, and an even lower 19 percent facilitate the same via mobile phone. Likely contributing to these low numbers is the fact that — as Accenture sussed out — only 53 percent of retailers are currently optimized for tablets.

Furthermore, the survey showed that while more than one third of consumers (39 percent) would take the opportunity to earn loyalty points and save money on purchases by means of mobile phone offers received while in store — and 45 percent want real-time promotions sent to their devices — a scant 28 percent of retailers are currently even able to deliver such services.

“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace,” said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “The fact that many consumers use their mobile devices to check inventory availability while on their way to a store and are looking for real-time promotions to be sent to their phones means retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of these devices. By investing in mobile applications and frictionless digital payment tools that incorporate loyalty, coupons and rewards in-store, retailers can provide a seamless bridge between customers’ online and offline experiences. All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time.”

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