Study: Retailers face omni-channel barriers

New York -- Organizational, operational and technology challenges are hampering retailers' efforts to meet customers' demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints. According to a new research study from Accenture and Hybris Software, retailers view omni-channel maturity as a key brand differentiator for their companies, and improving their ability to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience across all channels as a top priority.

The study, "Customer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Commerce Gap," conducted by Forrester Consulting, shows that nearly all (94%) of retail decision makers surveyed as part of the research said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omni-channel company. The study is based on an online survey of more than 1,500 multi-channel shoppers and 256 decision-makers from retail and manufacturing organizations across the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany.

According to the survey, 40% of retailers reported that they are having difficulty integrating back-office technology across all of their channels. Nearly half (47%) of the customers surveyed said they use in-store-pickup options to avoid online shipping costs, 25% so they can collect their orders on the day of purchase and 10% simply because they find it more convenient to pick items from a store than having them shipped to their home.

"Thirty nine percent of customers surveyed say they are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer's store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information," said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture's retail practice. "Additionally, the research also shows that retailers who struggle to implement robust seamless capabilities online also experience challenges meeting customer expectations in offline channels. So this is a particularly big challenge that requires immediate attention."