It is generally accepted that most enterprise retailers have started the ‘omnichannel’ journey, developing their cross-channel capabilities, delivering seamless and personalised customer experiences both in-store and online. There is firm commitment across board level, to the technology-driven strategy that will deliver this optimised omnichannel experience.
However, despite this commitment, the process is painful and many enterprise retailers are struggling to match the needs of their organisation with the technology and expertise available.
According to iVend’s Omnichannel report (2017), bricks-and-mortar stores are still very much part of the buying process for consumers but there has been an increase in online demand with more consumers leaning towards eCommerce as opposed to physical stores.
This brings it’s own challenge to an enterprise retailer in terms of order fulfilment, returns policies and marketing, to name a few. We highlighted some of the challenges in a recent blog post.
33% of consumers will ask store staff for advice before buying, as opposed to the 63% that will research a product online. These stark statistics have focused retailers on the importance of being online.
There is further encouraging evidence of online opportunities for retailers. A recent report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), has been contradicted by a leading retail industry think tank, the Robin Report. The BCG predicted that online sales would flatline over the next five years. According to the Robin Report, eCommerce, like any other channel, will not grow at a rate of double digits forever but it is a growing and profitable part of retail.
Currently, online shopping growth ‘is similar to the growth experienced in the 1970s and 1980s by catalogue merchants.’. The Robin Report argues that eCommerce is booming and trendsetters such as Macy’s and Nordstrom are attributing 20% of all sales to the online side of the business and shows no sign of stopping.
Studies have shown that every year, each age group of consumers has a higher penetration of online sales that the previous one. Furthermore, all products – from lamps to Lamborghinis have been sold online, proving that there are no categories that can be considered ‘online proof’.
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