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RSR-Top-Organizational-Inhibitors-Omnichannel-Strategies-June2013A sizable majority of retailers believe that multi-channel customers are either significantly (47%) or slightly (29%) more profitable than single-channel customers, something consumers themselves appear to agree with. But a new RSR Research study [download page] finds that despite retailers’ belief in the value of an omnichannel strategy, they continue to encounter significant difficulties along the way. Asked their top 3 organizational inhibitors to taking advantage of omnichannel opportunities, a leading 54% of respondents said they don’t have a single view of the customer across channels.

This problem doesn’t seem to be going away: last year, it was also the top organizational inhibitor, cited by a near-equal 55% of respondents.

The issue also isn’t confined to the retail industry. Results from a survey conducted earlier last year found just 17% of respondents from a range of industries saying they have already achieved a single view of their customers.

Consolidating customer data across channels is obviously one of the key ways to tackle the problem, per results from the RSR study (a potential solution cited by 43% of respondents). Indeed, according to a recent CMO Council survey, 57% of marketers feel that they are missing important data points that could provide them with a more comprehensive view of their customer, while another 30% believe that’s possible but they’re not sure what they’re missing.

Add it all up, and it would seem that retailers’ desire to integrate customer data across channels, along with their considered move to a brand- rather than channel-specific structure (a solution cited by 35% of respondents) would lead them to adopt a single-platform mentality. But, in fact, when asked to what extent they are rethinking their selling platforms for the longer-term future, only 34% said that all of their selling platforms will converge to a single platform. Instead, 52% believe there are some opportunities for convergence to a shared platform, but there will always be a need for some stand-alone capabilities in each channel.

About the Data: The data is based on an online survey conducted by RSR from March-June 2013 among 98 qualified retail respondents. 44% of the respondents are C-Level or VP, and 35% come from companies with $1-5 billion in 2012 revenue. 52% are headquartered in the US.

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