Online Retailers Give Selves Middling Cross-Channel Rating

July 21, 2011

etail-rank-seamless-experience-july-2011.JPGOn average, online retailers give themselves a middling 5.4 rating on a 1-10 scale for their delivery of seamless cross-channel shopping [download page], according to the e-tailing group’s 10th Annual Retailer Survey conducted in Q1 2011. A leading 19% of respondents rated themselves five out of 10 for their seamless cross-channel shopping experience, while another 10% rated themselves six out of 10.

In total, 46% of respondents rated themselves between six and 10, or slightly better than average to the best possible. Almost double gave themselves the lowest rating of one (11%) as did the highest rating of 10 (6%).

Almost 3 in 10 Don’t Expect Seamless Cross-Channel Experience

etail-seamless-timeframe-july-20113.JPGClose to three in 10 (28%) online retailers say they either have no current plans to deliver a seamless cross-channel experience (22%) or will always remain separate or siloed with their sales channels (6%). Another 10% say they already have a seamless cross-channel shopping experience, which correlates with the combined percentage who rated their cross-channel experience either a nine (4%) or 10 (6%).
Of the remaining respondents, 26% expect to have a seamless cross-channel experience next year, 22% expect one this year, and 16% don’t know.

Buy Online/Return In-store Most Offered Cross-Channel Feature

etail-cross-channel-timeframe-july-2011.JPGSlightly more than one-third (36%) of respondents currently offer the option of buying a product online and returning it in-store. This is 80% more than the 20% of respondents who allow a product to be purchased online and picked up in-store. Thirteen and 27% respectively plan to add these features.

Redeeming electronic gift certificates in-store via mobile device is the cross-channel feature with the lowest current availability (10%), while the highest percentage of respondents have no plans to offer an online product finder/in-store product lookup (42%).
It is worth noting that these results are somewhat skewed by a high percentage of respondents indicating they do not have physical stores.

Cross-Channel Branding Leads in Integration

etail-level-agreemenrt-july-2011.JPGWhen asked to rate their level of agreement with a variety of statements about the nature of their cross-channel integration, about three quarters (74%) of respondents rated consistent cross-channel branding in their top two responses. Distantly following were features such as sharing and having similar inventory across channels (60%), consistent cross-channel marketing of promotions (60%), and having one team lead marketing and advertising promotions (59%).

Consistency Narrowly Beats Convenience, Service

Eight-five percent of cross-channel customers rank consistency as a top two ideal factor in their experience, narrowly beating the 84% who selected convenience best suiting their shopping needs and accessible service, according to other Q1 2011 data from the e-tailing group and MyBuys. Knowledgeable service closely followed with an 80% top two ranking.

However, moving from the ideal experience to customers’ current cross-channel experience, only 50% ranked consistency as a top two factor they are actually encountering when shopping cross-channel, a significant 41% gap between expectation and reality. The highest percentage of cross-channel customers (67%) say convenience is a top two factor they are experiencing, creating the second-lowest gap of 20%. Convenience in terms of researching and purchasing online for in-store pickup had the lowest gap (19%).

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