E-commerce and omnichannel management
E-commerce and omnichannel – what is the state in retail? During Q1/Q2 of 2022, a number of Implement consultants in Germany set out to examine if the commitments to customer experience and sustainability made by retail companies also continued into actual operations and subsequent visible results.
In the retail world, interaction and integration of online as well as offline will become future standard. The question is no longer whether one will come or the other will remain but how they complement each other in a meaningful way.
Research figures show that omnichannel customers are the most valuable group of buyers, on average performing 70% more transactions in 90 days and so buying significantly more frequently than pure “online” or traditional “offline” shoppers.
Retail companies are increasingly focusing on direct-to-consumer business to sell their products – and it is no surprise. It has become a priority to build own e-commerce channels and capabilities beyond traditional brick-and-mortar formats – may it be through fulfilment platforms/marketplaces or owned, pure-play, stand-alone solutions with direct control and management.
Irrespective of retailers’ decisions, supply chain remains a focal topic – and building resilience in internal and external logistics is a competitive advantage and decisive winning factor.
Retail customers run through multiple touchpoints – from awareness to engagement, conversation, fulfilment and loyalty – each representing a make-or-break point in the buying process and customer journey. And once the customer has clicked “buy now”, it is all up to logistics setups to not only deliver the product to the customer’s door but to meet and exceed promises by delivering a superior customer experience.
If the customer meets a problem in the delivery process, it has an increasingly negative impact on the customer experience. Believing that logistics is purely attributed to the service providers is a mistake – customers are right when they see this as part of the retailer’s operations and ownership. It is on retailers themselves to secure turning one-and-done customers into loyalists. And it is also clear that a good customer experience does not stop with the product being delivered to the customer’s door – it also includes a well-designed and functioning return process and aftercare.
For many retail companies, customer experience and sustainability – among others – are the ultimate goals and commitments.
At Implement, we wanted to see if the commitments continued into actual operations and subsequent visible results. During Q1/Q2 of 2022, we therefore placed real orders with more than 70 retailers in Germany across multiple sectors, incl. fashion and apparel, sports, jewellery and accessories, consumer electronics, consumer goods, healthcare and beauty, household goods and decoration. All orders have been placed during workdays and mornings outside of peaks. Delivery took place to our home addresses in Munich, Germany, being able to compare promises made during the buying process vs actual realised experiences.
We then used a framework consisting of more than 40 questions as the foundation to collect and analyse data as well as to pull out the key findings to share with you here.
So what is the state of e-commerce and omnichannel in retail?
Already today, 30% of retailers position themselves as omnichannel players, aiming to offer synchronised touchpoints along the customer journey. However, only a fraction out of 70 retailers applied ship-from-store methodology, thus using nearby retail stores as micro-fulfilment centre.
Customers can interact with retailers across different channels – in physical stores, in webshops, through mobile apps, on social media etc. They can also access these channels from different devices – enabling them to buy products anytime, anywhere. A seamless customer journey allows the customers to move smoothly and efficiently from one channel to another based on their preferences.
It is crucial that retailers have designed their operating/business model, governance structure and (digital) backbone in such way to really create value for customers along multiple dimensions.
Creating customer value does not start with how retailers are organised or how stores are designed – but how customers prefer to do their shopping and the value offered in this experience relative to the cost, ranging from purchase decision to order fulfilment and last-mile delivery to returns etc.
The answer is simple: we will provide you with your company’s specific results – benchmarked against your relevant peers. All we ask is that you fill in your contact details in the form below and have a few days’ patience for us to come back to you. That is it.
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If you want to build a sustainable business capable of delivering the right goods and services at the right cost, you need to build the right supply chain network as the foundation.
We offer a 360-degree view of your retail business and can help you create a strategy towards growth and design relevant omni-channel customer journeys with commercial levers and operational enablers aligned in an agile, digital and profitable business model.
– a structured approach to deriving the business value of being data-driven.
Implement Consulting Group