New research from Accenture and Hybris Software, conducted by Forrester, finds that organizational, operational and technological challenges are hampering retailers' efforts to meet customer demand for a seamless shopping experience across channels and touch points.
According to the study, 71 percent of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online, and 50 percent expect to buy online and pick up their purchase in a physical store. Yet, only 36 percent of the retail decision makers surveyed said that they're able to provide customers with in-store pickup of online purchases, online visibility of cross-channel inventory and store-based fulfillment of online orders.
Accenture said the list of challenges that retailers face can be broadly categorized under three themes:
1) Organizational and ownership challenges. Despite the fact that 46 percent of the retailers have a dedicated omni-channel team, fundamental silo barriers and conflicting priorities remain. Thirty-four percent of respondents report that conflict between channel organizations is still a major barrier to success. Only 16 percent of retailers report that attribution of the sale revenue is irrelevant. Said Accenture, "The reality is that only a few retailers have yet completely dismantled their online, offline, and mobile channel silos, implementing a single retail P&L with an associated organizational structure for all sales regardless of channel."
2) Technology and integration challenges. Forty percent of retailers report difficulty integrating back-office technology across channels. Only 32 percent currently expose real-time store inventory online. Retailers have aggressive technology investment plans to support its omni-channel efforts but face often-lengthy implementation timelines. Said Accenture, "Many retailers are simply paralyzed; unable to implement simple capabilities like store pickup despite the fact that their customers already have basic expectations for these capabilities."
3) Operational and execution challenges. With associates expected to be "not only sales associates, but also product evangelists, customer service advocates, and distribution experts," 40 percent of retailers say that associate training is a major barrier to omni-channel success. For example, the 48 percent that have rolled out ship-from-store programs are challenged or very challenged with picking accuracy, and 44 percent struggle to find the resources in-store to perform these pick-and-pack tasks in a timely fashion.
What is the biggest barrier retailers face when it comes to developing omni-channel capabilities?