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Study: Majority of retailers can’t view their customers cross-channel

All retailers strive to provide connected customer experiences at store-level, yet efforts still miss the mark.

This was according to “Technologies That Are Changing How We Think of Brick & Mortar,” a report from Kibo. The report is based on responses from 115 retail executives.

According to the data, 64% of retailers feel they are only somewhat effective at capturing in-store data on customer preferences. Worse, less than half of respondents (42%) have in-store technologies to view customer information across all of their touchpoints — in-store, as well as among their digital channels.

These capabilities are paramount however, as the role of the physical store is evolving, as brick-and-mortar locations transition into a showroom, storefront and a fulfillment hub — all in one location. That means there is new emphasis on creating an omnichannel brand experience, and providing convenience to customers with the option to buy online and pick up in-store, or return a digital purchase to the store. Retailers are testing new programs and strategies that connect customer data to inventories in pursuit of stronger personalization and more diverse and accurate fulfillment programs.

In fact, personalization stands out as a major initiative, with 52% of retailer responses indicating they are planning to invest in it within the next 12 months or are already implementing this strategy. How-ever, nearly a quarter of retailers (22%) have a long road ahead as they have not yet begun to personalize, or aren’t sure if they even have that capability.

Inventory and fulfillment also remains a struggle as 41% of retailers lack trust in inventory accuracy or don’t have visibility. Meanwhile, only 17% have full enterprise-wide inventory visibility.

Many companies are also challenged by how to offer a variety of ful-fillment options — and their reasons for not offering a fulfillment choice vary. “My organization is not ready to implement” was cited as the leading reason for not offering “save the sale (44%) and in-store pickup (41%). “My technology won’t support it” was cited as the leading reason for not offering ship-from-store (42%).

On a positive note, in-store mobile technology commitments are on the rise, as 41% of retailers utilize mobile point-of-sale, and 76% have used displays or kiosks.

“It’s clear that retailers are still working through many technology and organizational challenges to address major omnichannel initia-tives,” said Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer, Kibo.

“Inventory visibility, personalization, cross-channel customer data and exploiting in-store mobile technologies are the key pillars in providing connected customer experiences in the store,” Patel said. “Retailers that enable themselves with the right technology and strategies in place can transform their brick-and-mortar stores into major brand assets in a time of digital ascendancy.”
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