A Ranking of 100 Leading Retailers on Their Omnichannel Capabilities
In its fifth annual ranking of 100 leading retailers and brands based on their omnichannel capabilities — i.e., programs offered and the execution of those programs — Total Retail, in conjunction with Orckestra, mdf commerce's enterprise-grade platform, offering retailers a single, scalable, user-friendly headless commerce engine to drive unified commerce experiences online and in-store, reveals the industry leaders at the forefront of delivering frictionless cross-channel shopping experiences.
Giving consumers' rapidly evolving shopping behaviors, including a heavier reliance on digital touchpoints throughout the purchase journey, having a sound omnichannel strategy that can serve customers in multiple ways has become more critical than ever. This includes each step along the purchase journey, from discovery to post-purchase support. Consumers expect retailers to know them and be able to serve them across channels.
As part of the 2021 evaluation, which was conducted in September and October, we visited each of the 100 retailers' websites as well as one of its brick-and-mortar stores, judging the companies on the following eight omnichannel criteria:
- the ability for customers to buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and/or curbside;
- the ability to search for in-store products on a brand’s digital properties (desktop site, mobile site, mobile app), including stock availability data;
- shared cart across channels for logged-in shoppers (e.g., mobile to desktop);
- the ability for loyalty points to be earned and redeemed across channels;
- cross-channel product returns (e.g., buy online, return in-store, or BORIS);
- ship from store/endless aisle;
- pricing consistency across channels; and
- mobile payments accepted in-store, including storage of payment data within app or mobile site
This year's evaluation saw none of the 100 retailers earn all of the total points available. However, there were several strong performers, highlighted by the top ranked company on the list, Torrid. The plus-size women's fashion retailer earned 10.25 of the 11 total points available. Bass Pro Shops, Lane Bryant, and Zumiez tied for second place, earning 10 points each. Rounding out the top of the rankings were Ace Hardware and Sportsman’s Warehouse, which each collected 9.75 points.
When analyzing the scores by product category, the top performers were Department Stores, with an average score of 8.83 for the brands within the category. At the bottom of the category rankings was Footwear, with an average score of 8.0 for the brands within that group.
BOPIS/Curbside, Cross-Channel Returns Grow in Adoption
In addition to ranking individual retailer’s omnichannel proficiency, the 2021 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report revealed some industry trends, including the following:
- Seventy-seven percent of retail loyalty program members can earn and redeem points/rewards across multiple transaction channels, although certain exceptions exist with several of the retailers evaluated.
- Ninety-eight of the 100 retailers evaluated offer at least some form of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and/or curbside pickup. However, it’s important to note that just five retailers earned full credit for this criterion, indicating there’s opportunity for improvement with these still nascent services. While these services quickly gained consumer and retailer adoption during the pandemic, particularly curbside pickup, expect this behavior to remain post-pandemic. Consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions based on convenience, and the growth of BOPIS and curbside pickup is a prime example of that.
- All but one of the 100 retailers evaluated enable customers to return purchases across channels. In fact, 54 percent of the merchants earned full credit for this criteria category. With more purchases occurring online than ever before, it’s not surprising that return rates for many product categories (e.g., apparel, footwear) are at all-time highs. Recognizing this dynamic, retailers are investing resources to enable frictionless cross-channel product returns.
The 2021 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report is a resource for retailers to measure themselves against their competitors as well as the leading organizations in the industry. It should also serve as a prompt to conduct a self-audit of your company’s omnichannel capabilities, identifying areas of strength — which can be leveraged as differentiators — as well as areas of weakness. As consumer behaviors shift and purchase journeys cross multiple channels, it’s the retailers that have a strong omnichannel infrastructure in place, including technology systems and solutions, that will win customer loyalty.
Related story: 2021 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers