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Shoppers face omnichannel dilemma

Research released today finds that as much as shoppers like the idea of omnichannel retail, there are still barriers to its wider acceptance by wary customers.

Carried out by data analysis and research company, Periscope By McKinsey, the survey found that in-store shopping still dominates (83% US, 77% UK) with consumers saying it is one of their top ways to shop, followed by ordering online via a computer (59% US, 55% UK).

The US and UK may be similar in terms of how shoppers use technology to shop, but only 2% of US respondents considered ‘buy online, pick up in store’ one of their top two shopping methods, compared with 15% in the UK where click-and-collect continues to grow in importance.

Consumers are clear that they want certain elements of omnichannel retail, the research found:

  • To instantly order items that are out of stock in the store via my phone for home delivery – (54% US, 55% UK)
  • To select items online and be directed to them in the store – (49% US & UK)

But to implement omnichannel solutions that bridge the online and in-store experience, retailers must earn the trust of consumers to use the information gathered online and through location-based services or other mobile device data.

The research found that 60% UK and 62% US respondents do not want their online and offline information to be connected by retailers, not even if it is intended to improve their overall shopping experience.

Pricing is another area that appears to impact trust, with over half of consumers getting frustrated when they see products are priced differently on and offline at the same retailer (54% US, 55% UK), with a smaller number saying that they expect products to be cheaper online (25% US, 23% UK).

Commenting on the findings, Channie Mize, general manager for retail at Periscope By McKinsey said, “Retailers that can build the bridge between in-store and online, as well as bridge the trust gap, are those that will flourish in the future.  It will allow them to deliver experiences that will get customers flocking to their doors and online store.

“Implementing a traditional analytics platform is not enough anymore – retailers have to use new tools to bridge the instore and online experience with platforms and algorithms that are situation aware and make recommendations in that context. A first step is to move to prescriptive customer analytics to optimise offers for loyal consumers across both online and offline channels.”

Image credits:
  • House of Fraser, Editorial use only.