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Most UK brands aiming for omnichannel within 18 months: study

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Most UK brands expect to have an omnichannel strategy in place within 18 months, according to a new survey.

SLI Systems quizzed around 100 delegates at its SLI Connect UK event. Some 83% forecast that their omnichannel strategy would be in place within that timescale.

But, it appears, pureplay and multichannel retailers are working to different definitions of what constitutes an omnichannel strategy.

For while all of those who took part in the survey thought mobile was key to the implementation of an omnichannel strategy, pureplays were less likely to consider offline as an area to be explored: only 15% of respondents said kiosks played a key part, while 61% said bricks-and-mortar did. By contrast 97% said optimising for tablet was important, and 95% rated the importance of the online environment, for desktop and laptop.

Tim Callan, chief marketing officer at SLI Systems, gave his definition. “The best omnichannel organisastions are those that offer the customer the same value, benefits and service options regardless of how they come to you, whether it’s on a PC, in-store or by mobile device.”

He added: “Both communities are trying to use omnichannel to play to their strengths. Pureplay ecommerce businesses are seeking to stick with the model that brought them success in the first place – keeping overhead low and focusing on the techniques that drive online business growth. On the other hand, bricks-and-mortar retailers are trying to exploit the advantages that come with having physical locations in the same neighbourhoods where their customers live.”

David Kohn, multichannel director at retailer Snow + Rock, said: “As a business that has bricks-and-mortar stores as well as online, we see delivering a consistent customer experience through all channels as both our key challenge and our key opportunity. The survey suggests we are not alone in this.”

More than 85% of respondents said they would implement new technologies to support their strategies, with just over 14% saying they would use existing technologies to do so.

For 64%, the funding to achieve this will come by repurposing existing budgets, while 36% will have new money.

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