In our 2015 benchmark on the state of Omnichannel Retailing (Omnichannel 2015: Taking Time, Money, Commitment And Technology, September 2015), we noted that EU and UK retailers have offered an eCommerce channel to consumers longer than their North American counterparts, and that this was actually working against them, since legacy eCommerce systems often didn’t offer the flexibility and nimbleness to add features and functions quickly, with a minimum of cost and pain. Additionally, we were surprised in that study to learn that almost three times as many UK/EU retailers as US retailers didn’t know what effect the digital channels had on store sales (32% compared to 12%), and conjectured that this was the result poorly synchronised activities across channels.

By our 2017 study, Omnichannel Retailing 2017: Retail’s Existential Challenge a very different picture has emerged. While EMEA and North American retailers agree that the top objective of an omnichannel strategy is to better align with customer expectations, EMEA retailers much more strongly associate creating a seamless customer experience to the top objective than do their North American counterparts.

Our take? Harmonisation of the customer-facing selling channels is an essential requirement of retailing in the 21st Century, regardless of where a retailer operates or which vertical it operates in. Consumers don’t see “channels” – they search for and select “solutions” to their lifestyle needs, often beginning their paths to purchase in the digital domain, even if the resultant sale happens in a store.

To download a copy of RSR's latest benchmark on Omnichannel Retailing, click here.