Report: Omnichannel Retail Index Finds Increased Best Practices Adoption
As the retail industry continues to rally back from the pandemic, the increased adoption of digital and omnichannel capabilities continues at an accelerated pace to meet the needs of today’s shoppers. FitForCommerce recently released the findings of its 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index (“Index”), a benchmarking study that examines the adoption of e-commerce and omnichannel capabilities for 100 retailers and brands across 13 verticals. The Index consists of 250-plus feature and functionality criteria across web, mobile, store, and cross-channel experiences. The comprehensive annual study looks at everything from global elements (i.e., navigation, saved cart) to more granular criteria (i.e., filters, suggested products on “No results” pages).
The average adoption of best practice capabilities across all retailers and brands in the Index is 62 percent — up from 54 percent in 2019. The Home Improvement vertical finishes first with a 63 percent adoption rate, followed closely by Department Stores and Office/Electronics (tied at 61 percent). While the implementation of critical omnichannel and digital capabilities during the pandemic boosted the overall Index scores, other features and functions have been on a steady rise since the first Index in 2015.
The data proves that retailers and brands are better positioned to serve customers now compared to pre-pandemic Indexes, but it also points out plenty of opportunities for retailers and brands to up their game.
Here are some key findings:
- 86% offer buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), but only 11 percent have the ability to schedule pick up;
- curbside pickup skyrocketed from 4 percent in 2019 to 73 percent in 2021;
- 97 percent auto-suggest search terms, but only 33 percent remember previously searched terms;
- 88 percent have live chat somewhere on the site, but only 43 percent have it in cart where consumers might need immediate help the most;
- over 50 percent recommend additional products in cart, but less than half include “save for later” functionality or display threshold messaging;
- 40 percent use SMS for marketing, up from 28 percent in 2019;
- 87 percent have content (e.g., lists, blogs, articles, how-tos, etc.) but only 16 percent make products shoppable within the content;
- 52 percent offer buy now, pay later (BNPL) and 15 percent accept alternative payments (e.g., GiftNow, Venmo, WeChat, BitPay, AliPay, etc.); and
- in-store saw a significant increase in contactless payments, mobile payment, and self-serve checkout, with 84 percent of stores now accepting mobile payment, up from just over half in 2019.
Moving beyond table stakes and best practices, new technologies and innovative solutions are elevating the customer experience online and in-store. During the benchmarking, we discovered experiences that created delight and added convenience for the customer. The Index found that over one-third of desktop or mobile apps offered some type of innovative experience like virtual try-ons, visual search, or augmented reality. Virtual appointments saw a substantial uptick during the beginning of the pandemic. The Index is proving that the adoption of virtual consultations and one-to-one styling, especially in Home and Apparel verticals, continues to grow.
The Omnichannel Retail Index is full of insights and best practices, all supported by real data. Leverage the findings to review and compare your digital, mobile and store experiences against the industry. It can help your team understand what you should have and what you will need to up your game to provide a great omnichannel customer experience.
Kathy Kimple is chief retail officer, FitForCommerce, a leading boutique consultancy that helps e-commerce and omnichannel businesses make smarter business decisions.
Related story: COVID-19 and the Acceleration of BOPIS and Curbside Pickup