Only 44 percent of the top 50 retailers in the UK allow shoppers to reserve or pay for items online and pick them up in-store. What’s more, of those that do, almost a quarter (23 percent), restrict the service to their website, meaning customers shopping on-the-go via mobiles are not able to take advantage of click and collect.
IVIS Group’s first annual multichannel maturity benchmark report analysed the top 50 retailers by turnover across five categories: grocery, department stores, clothing, general merchandise and home improvement. It underlined that many retailers are providing an inconsistent customer experience across in-store, online and mobile channels.
“We selected the top 50 retailers across five categories because they are investing the most in multichannel as a whole,” said Paul Bolton, director of product and corporate strategy at IVIS Group, which provides multichannel software. “We found that while some retailers are leading the way with flawless, joined up customer shopping experiences, these are rare. In-store and online crossover is a growing trend, but the number of retailers offering this service is low—even when taking into account that certain product types may not suit the click-and-collect model. Retailers need to start thinking like shoppers. Running a unified operation means the customer gets the best experience.”
When looking at how mobile is linking online and in-store shopping, consumers can access all 50 retailers on smartphones and tablets, yet more than a third (38 percent) of retailers still haven’t optimised their websites for these channels.
Perhaps surprising, however, 54 percent of retailers do have a mobile app.
Of those with a mobile-optimised site or app, 84 percent have a store locator on the homepage, but more than half (55 percent) don’t allow customers to check in-store stock availability before going shopping.
IVIS Group analysed elements of customer service, and found that two-thirds of retailers are happy to receive phone calls about online and catalogue shopping queries and orders. Thirty-four percent are not, preferring to be contacted by email or web forms.
Forty-two percent of retailers send email and text notifications for items ready to collect in-store, indicating that more than half (58 percent) are not taking advantage of technology to keep customers informed, instead relying on call centres or in-store staff.
The report also reveals that more UK retailers are dipping their toes into international waters—34 percent now ship to overseas locations and 32 percent trade in one or more countries.
“While internationalisation is an area retailers are looking to for growth, many opportunities still exist in the domestic market if customer-centric best practices are implemented across the channels,” Bolton concluded.
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