I’ve long been a proponent of making omnichannel a C-suite issue. It has to come from the top down. But the brands struggling to deliver a true omnichannel experience have a fundamental issue. At an organizational level, many brands still operate online and in-store in silos. E-commerce and physical retail are their own separate entities, running on systems that were never built with the other channel in mind. It’s how retail functioned for many years, but it’s not good enough for today’s consumer.
The Omnichannel Leadership Report, an annual assessment of over 200 luxury, premium and lifestyle brands, found that the retail industry today ranks at a low 40 out of 100 for omnichannel competence. While this score signals room for major improvement, there are some inspiring bright spots.
The brands ranked at the top of the list — Nike, Athleta, Moncler, Louis Vuitton, and Banana Republic, to name a few — are notably more competent than their peers. When you look at the data at a granular level, it becomes clear why these brands are breaking away from the pack: mobile. Brands that rank higher overall have adopted mobile in-store to better serve customers and make the store associate’s job easier. Notably, 68 percent of brands equip store associates with a mobile device or tablet, up from 60 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2017.
When associates have a mobile device in-store, they can help shoppers with any request without leaving their side. It makes for a better experience and encourages upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Fifty-one percent of brands today provide local and organizationwide inventory levels to associates via a mobile device, and 33 percent of brands offer mobile checkout. Mobile has the ability to turn store associates into a point of sale, living website and instant customer support.
The top brands for associate mobility, according to the 2019-2020 Omnichannel Leadership Report, are as follows:
- Tiffany & Co.
These brands have connected store associates with endless intelligence on product information and inventory, mobile checkout, customer data, and more. Associates are the heartbeats of a brand, and they have a larger impact on revenue when they use mobile to execute omnichannel retail. Let the leaders in this report, and the experimentation and innovation they’ve embraced, be an inspiration for all brands to transform their business for omnichannel.
Stephan Schambach is the founder and CEO of NewStore, a mobile retail platform.
Related story: Total Retail's 2019 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers