Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney, Lids Atop Total Retail's 2019 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers List
Total Retail recently released its third annual ranking of 100 publicly traded retailers based on their omnichannel capabilities — i.e., programs offered, and the execution of those programs. The 2019 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report was produced in conjunction with Radial, a leader in omnichannel commerce technology and operations, and it reveals the retailers and brands at the forefront of delivering the seamless cross-channel shopping experiences that consumers have come to expect.
As part of this year’s evaluation, we visited each retailer’s website as well as one of its brick-and-mortar stores, judging the companies on the following seven omnichannel criteria: the ability for customers to buy online, pick up in-store; the ability to search for in-store products on a brand’s digital properties (website, mobile website, 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., return online purchases in-store); ship from store/endless aisle; and pricing consistency across channels. The evaluations were conducted in the first quarter of 2019.
After compiling all of the data, three retailers ended in a three-way tie for first place in this year's rankings: Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney, and Lids. All three companies finished with the maximum score across all seven criteria. This is the second consecutive year that Lids has shared the No. 1 ranking in the Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report. J.C. Penney made a significant leap in the rankings year-over-year, improving upon its 11th place finish in the 2018 report. And a new addition to this year’s list, Bloomingdale’s vaulted all the way to the top of the rankings.
Part of Macy’s Inc., Bloomingdale’s is one of the country’s most recognizable brands, having been in business for 146 years. Currently, the upscale department store chain operates 38 full-line stores, 17 outlet locations, and its e-commerce site.
Receiving the top score in all seven criteria, Bloomingdale’s has invested time and resources to provide its customers — frequently domestic and international tourists — with a seamless shopping experience across all of its sales channels. The brand wants to make it as easy as possible for consumers to shop for its upscale and contemporary fashion how they want to.
For example, Bloomingdale’s mobile app offers multiple omnichannel features, including “Scan & Send,” which enables in-store users that can’t find their size or color to scan an item to check for its availability — and then have it shipped directly to their home; the ability to purchase through the app and pick up your order in-store the same day; store guides that enhance the in-store shopping experience with event listings, directories, store hours and more; in-store push notifications that alert users to nearby items that are on sale; and a dedicated loyalty portal through which members can look up and redeem reward cards.
In addition to its app, Bloomingdale’s omnichannel commitment can be seen on the company’s website as well. From bloomingdales.com, customers can purchase items for pick-up in-store the same day, as well as book a complimentary appointment with a personal shopper and stylist, beauty consultant, or registry consultant.
J.C. Penney has reason to be proud of the progress it has made in its omnichannel strategy in the past 12 months, jumping from 11th place in last year’s list to a three-way tie atop the 2019 rankings. The department store chain showed the greatest improvement in pricing consistency across all channels — earning all three points for the category this year vs. just one point in 2018 — as well as adding shared cart capability (i.e., logged-in customers can add products to their cart in one channel and have them saved and available in another channel, such as from mobile to desktop).
Integral to J.C. Penney’s turnaround as a company is an improved omnichannel shopping experience for its customers. To accomplish that, J.C. Penney is investing in technology solutions that help it to better understand its customers’ behaviors. With customer data, the retailer can deliver personalized shopping experiences that increase engagement, conversions and, ultimately, loyalty.
Examples of J.C. Penney’s digital and store operations teams working together seamlessly include a buy online, pick up in-store program; cross-channel returns (e.g., online orders brought back to a store), which necessitate synced inventory; and the fulfillment of online orders from its stores for last-mile delivery.
In addition, J.C. Penney is bringing its digital properties into its physical stores. The retailer has made its website available at nearly all of its in-store point-of-sale terminals, allowing associates to check merchandise availability in all J.C. Penney stores, as well as place orders on the spot.
For the second consecutive year, Lids, a retailer of licensed sports apparel, has tied for the top ranking in Total Retail’s Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report. Lids received the maximum number of points across the seven criteria, improving upon its performance from last year in cross-channel product returns. (In December 2018, Genesco Inc. sold Lids to Ames Watson Capital LLC, a private equity firm that also owns and operates licensed sports apparel retailer Fanzz.) In addition to its LIDS retail headwear stores, the company operates the Locker Room by LIDS specialty fan retail chain.
Lids’ highly successful loyalty program, Access Pass, has proven to be an effective driver of omnichannel shopping behavior. The program, which offers members special discounts, birthday gifts, and early notifications on limited-edition and special offers, is structured so that customers can earn rewards points for purchases both in-store and online. The Access Pass program comprises a higher-than-company average of omnichannel shoppers, who have proven to be Lids’ best customers.
As part of its efforts to engage customers across multiple channels, Lids has launched a #LidsLoyal Instagram campaign. The retailer has invited its customers to share on Instagram their favorite photos of themselves wearing Lids merchandise, tagging the post with the hashtag #LidsLoyal. Each week, Lids chooses a fan photo to feature on the company’s Instagram feed. And, of course, the products featured in the posts are linked to for those interested in purchasing.
Related story: Total Retail's 2019 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers