Omni Channel 2018-2019 Leadership Report

An analysis of 150 luxury, lifestyle, and apparel brands,both from an online and an in-store perspective. It is based upon the latestreport of NewStore. For TextileFuture’s readers it will reveal many new andunknown facts and a forecast for the future of brick and mortar, as well asE-Commerce business. We wish to thank NewStore for this valuable input.

All captions and graphs courtesy of NewStore

Do or Die – Introduction

Retailers no longer have a choice. Omnichannel capabilitieswill be table stakes, and those brands that continue to find organizational or technological excuses willdisappear. Ironically, all retailers understand what is at stake, but providingmobile-obsessed customers with a true omnichannel shopping experience has yetto become a reality. It requires a complete transformation along everycorporate dimension. This is why we have seen a technology landscape litteredwith shortcuts, such as point solutions that only address slivers ofomnichannel; a little clienteling here, a little endless aisle there, and maybea hint of mobile payments somewhere in between. It is easier to say “yes” toincremental change, but these baby steps are far from what consumers want fromphysical retailers in the Amazon age.

Omnichannel requires a vision and drive for innovative leadership that demands and inspires organizational alignment among teams, operations, and technologies. To further complicate things, the very definition of omnichannel varies from retailer to retailer. For some, it is as simple as replacing traditional cash registers for a cashless mobile point of sale (POS) system, and for others, it is about empowering associates with mobile devices for inventory, product, and customer data purposes. Some have set their eyes on tackling the Amazon problem with a bevy of customer- friendly fulfilment options like endless aisle, buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), buy online return in-store (BORIS), same day shipping, ship from store, etc.

Regardless of how retailers believe omnichannel is defined or what technology solutions they want to put in place, it is not completely up to them.

Consumer expectations dictate an always-on, seamless, consistent and personalized shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints. In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of London’s Selfridges department store, coined the adage “the customer is always right,” and this still holds true today. The modern shopper’s journey has evolved, and so have expectations. Are retailers able to evolve fast enough to meet these new demands, or will they be left behind?

Now in its third year, the 2018 – 2019 Omnichannel Leadership Report evaluates the omnichannel capabilities and maturation of 150 apparel, lifestyle, and luxury brands. The focus of the research is to evaluate core offerings and omnichannel capabilities for these brands in relation to how they support the modern shopper’s customer journey, as well as the value to customer acquisition and revenue. To do this, we visited various flagship or full-line retail stores  in  New  York  City,  as  well  as their digital properties, and looked at three core ingredients to omnichannel  nirvana.  Think of them as the primary colours for delivering the perfect omnichannel experience,  and  each  retailer  mixes them with varying degrees of success.

Shopped ‘Til we dropped’ – the Methodology

The 2018 – 2019 Omnichannel Leadership Report chronicles the results of 150 apparel, lifestyle, and luxury retail brands and evaluates their omnichannel capabilities, maturation, and readiness.

As secret shoppers, our team of researchers analyzed each brand in-store and online, engaging and interacting with in-store technologies and systems, store associates and managers, as well as each brand’s mobile apps and web presence.

In the following section, you’ll  see  an  overview of  the  data  points  we  collected  on  each  brand, across the  three  key  areas  of  the modern customer journey: Search & Discover, Personalization & Engagement, and Path to Purchase & Fulfilment. Each brand received a score from 0 – 100 (100 being the optimal score) across the three categories, as well as an overall score based on the average across those three sections. All of the data points were weighted based on their relevance to the customer journey, as well as impact on revenue.

Research Objectives

•             Benchmark retailers’ progress toward adopting omnichannel strategies and solutions.

•             Understand how retailers are empowering store associates with data and tools to increase productivity and sales.

•             Identify the steps retailers are taking to connect consumers, store associates, product and inventory information, and stores with each other.

•             Determine how well brands integrate mobile into the customer journey.

•             Evaluate the user experience across each brand’s mobile website and native app.

What are we waiting for?! – Summary Findings

Incremental progress is still progress, and consistent with last year’s  report  —  that much was evident in our research findings for this year. Overall, in our analysis of 150 brands, we saw subtle, but encouraging improvement across the industry as a whole, but also clear areas for improvement.

Incremental progress is still progress, and consistent with last year’s  report —  that much was evident in our research findings for this year. Overall, in our analysis of 150 brands, we saw subtle, but encouraging improvement across the industry as a whole,   but also clear areas for improvement.

However, the inability of store associates to execute key omnichannel workflows as well as some of the systems and solutions in place — or  lack  thereof  —  shows  that  retailers are still figuring out how to deliver a true omnichannel experience.

Mobile is the connective tissue between the consumer and a brand, but it is still underutilized as a method of helping to bridge the gap between online and in-store experiences.

Brands have made improvements when it comes to product search and multichannel inventory  visibility online  and through in-store POS systems, but in many cases those same capabilities do not translate to mobile. Further, there are significant gaps and improvements brands need to make to realize the full potential of clienteling and modern fulfilment options like endless aisle, BOPIS, BORIS, and ship from store, to name a few.

Cold hard truths

Slow  technology  adoption  has  bred  workarounds  for standard use cases,  chief  among  them  being  endless  aisle.  To save the sale, we’ve seen store associates encourage customers to get online with  them  in-store  and  place  an order via  the  website.  Maybe they’ll  provide  a  discount code for the inconvenience. Together they fill out payment, address, and order information. But, is 

this the frictionless and efficient promise of true omnichannel? Hardly. Brands have also loosened policies to accept  in-store  returns  for online purchases only to ship them to a distribution center where the item must be  accepted  back  into  the  system before the customer is refunded.  Finally,  many  store associates use their own personal devices  to  communicate  with customers, which is less than ideal given all of that information and data could be lost if the employee leaves.

Omnichannel Leaders

3

An Omnichannel Report Card – Search & Discover

Mobile has altered consumer behaviour. This shift has given way to an on-demand economy where immediate gratification has become the standard; this is effectively taking shape in the form of Uber, Postmates, or in retail’s case, instant visibility of product and inventory information. In this section of the report, we focus on the ease, efficiency and accessibility of finding a product and related inventory for the consumer and store associate, both online and in-store.

ANALYSIS

Retail brands are consistently giving consumers visibility into in-store inventory information, related products and pairings when they shop online. However, store  associates  are  not always afforded the same luxury, as many retailers fail to provide their associates with efficient and easy access to cross-channel inventory.

TURN BROWSERS INTO BUYERS

Customer-facing  devices  help  brands   connect   and   engage with customers in-store, providing access to wider product selections, remote inventory, as well as online-only offers. While it seems ironic that in a mobile-first world less than 1/3 of retailers offer customer-facing mobile devices, the number of retailers doing so actually doubled year-over-year.

CANNOT HAVE YOUR CAKE & EAT IT TOO

Research suggests that nearly 80 % of shoppers research products online before making a purchase  in-store,  and  yet, only 36 % (up from 34 % in 2017) of brands have enabled in- store inventory visibility online and / or through their  mobile app.

YOUR PERSONAL STYLIST

Brands displaying related products (68%) and product pairings (59%) are delivering more personalized, tailored content to their customers,  which  directly  impacts  the bottom line, beefs up online shopping carts, and increases average order size.

Search & DiscoverLeaders

Personalization & Engagement

Every step along the customer journey presents an opportunity for retailers to engage and connect with people in a way that lays the foundation for a profitable long-term relationship. When it comes to brick-and-mortar retail, the brands that win big with customers, and outpace their peers, leverage mobile technology and customer information to personalize each interaction, creating more relevant and engaging customer shopping experiences. Here we evaluated how well brands leveraged data and mobile technology to create personalized shopping experiences on the store floor.

ANALYSIS

Despite the direct correlation to total sales, average order size, and repeat purchase, retailers have not scratched the surface on clienteling just yet. While luxury retailers are further along than their industry peers, there is glaring room for improvement across conversational commerce and in-store appointment scheduling, as well as visibility into customers’ omnichannel order history and data.

SEEING WOULD BE BELIEVING

Equipped with a customer’s order history, associates can leverage that information to make informed, personalized recommendations, build trust  with  the  customer,  and increase order sizes. Unfortunately, more than 2/3 of store associates do not have access to an omnichannel purchase history while they’re with the customer on the shop floor. Some associates can leave the  side  of  the  customer  to  do that, but why would you want them to risk it?

IF YOU HAD ONE WISH…ANY WISH

Increasing sales is  predicated  on  an  associate’s  ability  to deliver a rich, personalized shopping experience for their customers. Unfortunately, almost all store associates (93%) cannot see a customer’s wish list. The lost sales potential is enormous, and at the  minimum,  it  hobbles  associates’  ability  to make informed, relevant recommendations.

ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD – NOT

According to research from Agendize, 60 % of sales generated through an appointment can generate  up to a 20 % increase in upselling. And yet, only 9 % of brands surveyed enable in-store appointment scheduling. It simply does not matter if the appointment is kept. At minimum, it shows that your brand values your customers’ and associates’ time.

PULSE OF THE INDUSTRY

The retailers analysed in our report averaged a collective “43” overall score. This was strikingly representative of what we see with omnichannel today; a little bit of this and that, but not a cohesive shopping experience.

Path to Purchase & Fulfilment

Today’s consumers do not care about or think in terms ofonline or offline, but rather right now. Channel source has been trumped byimmediacy. Expectations have been set thanks in large part to ecommerce ingeneral, and of course, Amazon, specifically. And, Amazon is going to continueto spend billions on improvement. This is the reality for retailers, and whilesome have made strides toward meeting these expectations, the majority arestill playing catch-up. In the final section of the report, we look at howbrands are removing friction from the payment process, and creating new levelsof customer convenience with creative fulfilment options and delivery methods.

ANALYSIS

Brands continued  to  make  improvements  on  the  checkout front, offering mobile payments in-store to bust lines, speed up payments and  cater  to  their  mobile-obsessed  customers.  And while there’s still a long way to go, brands did make slight improvements in the diversity of omnichannel fulfilment options being offered to customers, such as endless aisle, ship from store,  click  and  collect,  as  well  as  in-store  returns and exchanges.

STILL SHORT ON ENDLESS AISLE

Shoppers never want to  hear  from  an  associate  that  a product is out of stock, but  as  our  research  shows,  that’s more common than not. Only 21% of brands  provide  their sales associates with the ability to access and sell  inventory from another store through a mobile device, and 33% can sell inventory from a distribution centre.

APPLE OF MY EYE

Apple Pay caters to the mobile-obsessed  consumer  enabling  quick and secure checkout, and it’s growing in popularity with retailers  racing  to  implement  the  technology  in-store  year  over year. In fact, 57% of brands accept Apple Pay in-store, up a whopping 23 % from 2017. In fact, 57% of brands accept Apple Pay in-store, up a whopping 23% from 2017.

RETAIL’S FAVORITE PICK-UP LINE, BOPIS

BOPIS helps drive in-store traffic and create upsell opportunities for retailers. In addition, it adds value for consumers by eliminating shipping fees and checkout lines, as well as reducing wait times for orders. A quarter of brands we surveyed now offer BOPIS, compared to 18 % in 2017. A big jump, but still far from ubiquitous.

Conclusion

Omnichannel is everywhere, but only in bits and pieces. Delivering true omnichannel is hard — plain and simple. It requires that retailers eliminate organizational and technological silos to further connect consumers with the brand, store associates, and stores. To date, only a few retailers have executed this in a way that seamlessly delivers on the shopping experiences that today’s customers expect.

However, it is not for lack of trying. Many are actively working towards this vision, but are hindered by the costs and time it takes to update legacy enterprise systems, while other organizations opt to bring projects in-house and build themselves – both incur an equally massive, ongoing investment of time and resources to get off the ground and maintain. Further, retailers will look to combine point solutions as a quick fix or fast-track towards omnichannel,  but these projects and solutions also require complex integrations and continual upkeep without the promise of scale or long- term success.

Over the last three years of our research, we have seen retailers make significant progress in the areas of inventory visibility, store fulfilment, and payment methods – all of which are key to satisfying the omnichannel shopper. Clienteling has lagged behind, but we predict significant adoption for at least basic forms of Assisted Selling. Looking at the examples set forth by the retailers highlighted in this report, as well as the emerging and innovative digital native brands we are keeping a close eye on, we anticipate that retail will look utterly different over the next 24 months. At the centre of the transformation, we will see fully connected stores and digitally powered store associates.

This report is the result of research done by NewStore,  Inc. and reflects NewStore’s analysis and assessments of the subject matter. NewStore does not represent or warrant that the use of the guidance in this report will lead to any particular outcome or result.  Additionally, this report is not intended to provide any legal, taxation or accountancy advice.

NEWSTORE is the trademark of NewStore, Inc. , here is the story on NewStore: Since 1992, Stephan Schambach has been changing the world. From founding Intershop and building the first standard software for online shopping, to putting retail in the cloud with the founding of Demandware and the company’s USD 2.8 billion dollar acquisition by Salesforce, Schambach has seen it all in retail. He put pen to paper in 2017 and published his first book, Makeover: How Mobile Flipped the Shopping Cart, outlining the web of retail relationships with lessons and tactical next steps for retailers to adapt and thrive in the mobile age. The visionary who brought the retail industry online shopping and cloud service solutions, has now foreseen what the age of digital disruption has in store. And, the future is mobile.

Today’s consumers live in a completely mobile society. The centerpiece of their existence is no longer their street address, but their smartphone. The customer isn’t just looking for a new channel; she’s undergone a transformation. Retail must transform, too, for the mobile age.

With NewStore, Schambach has built a Mobile Retail Platform that empowers brands to deliver an extraordinary end-to-end shopping experience for consumers. Built entirely from a mobile perspective, it integrates with existing ecommerce platforms. NewStore raises the omnichannel bar with one-touch purchase, scalable clienteling, and on-demand delivery — all optimized for the small screen.

For more information about the Mobile Retail Platform, please contact us.

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Webinar

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