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No retailer has got omni-channel sorted anywhere in Europe, benchmark reveals

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No retailers in Europe are able to deliver a complete omni-channel experience and they all have to work a lot harder on in-store, mobile and delivery offerings to come close, warns a pan-European omni-channel capability study carried out by IBM.

The first European Omnichannel Capabilities Index report (OmCI), looked at 169 European retailers and assessed them against 75 criteria to measure how well they perform in providing the basics of good customer experience. They all failed – although UK retailers came out better than most, with the top 5 retailers scoring an average of 73% across all criteria. Belgium was the lowest at 30%.

The key criteria where retailers failed were on consistency across channels, says IBM. The most consistently delivered criterion is a ‘universal price strategy’ across all channels, with a rating of 76%. The least consistently delivered is ‘e-commerce service: in store’ – for example, check-in with a smartphone or self-scanning payment terminal), at only 9%.

On average, the capabilities which need the most work, beyond in-store service, are ‘mobile apps’ 27%, ‘click-and-collect’ – buying online and picking up in store – at 33.5% and ‘home delivery’ at 34%.

General merchandise retailers performed highly with an OmCI score of 63%, closely followed by electronics businesses – who want to lead the way with digital technologies – at 57%. Furniture sellers achieved the lowest score with 36%.

In a truly omnichannel world, the customer receives personalised and consistent service from any brand touchpoint including mobile, online, high-street and social. A majority of shoppers now use technology in the shopping process, and services such as click-and-collect, or buy online and return to store, for example, are expected as standard. But the internal organisation of many companies has not caught up to deliver this seamless experience.

“A growing number of consumers expect retailers to offer a true omnichannel shopping experience,” says Martin Butler, head of retail for IBM UK and Ireland. “The shopping journey is now very different for certain product categories, such as electrical and fashion. We performed the benchmark to allow retailers to assess themselves against their competition – in order that they prioritise their investment in line with consumer demands.”

The full IBM report ‘Authenticity and advantage in an omnichannel world’, which included 33 UK retailers, is available to download here

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