Online shopping has never been more convenient for consumers, who’ve access to a plethora of channels through which to engage with their favourite brands.
However, this same variety is confounding retailers, with 47% saying there are simply too many channels for them to effectively deliver the perfect sales experience.
This is according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology’s “Brands don’t fail… eRetail!” report, which found nearly all (94%) retail CEOs, founders and C-Level executives claim to have a multi-channel strategy in place despite many not knowing what a successful approach looks like or how to best harness the slew of obtainable channels amid a sea of digitally native competitors.
Two-thirds (66%) concede they may very well be using digital channels more efficiently and 44% struggle to deliver a consistent brand experience across every channel. Nearly half (49%) struggle to benchmark their very own omnichannel initiatives to evaluate success.
While 59% said their organisations have tailored strategies for individual platforms, as few as one-in-10 (11%) imagine there isn’t any differentiation and – perhaps more worryingly – 29% didn’t even know.
Marketplaces were seen as the best channel to sell through by over a 3rd (35%) of leaders, closely followed by social platforms (33%). The prominence of marketplaces may prove to be a double-edged sword nonetheless, with two-thirds (68%) saying they are vital to their brand’s future but 42% seeing their growth as a threat.
And in a warning shot to the high street, physical stores are rapidly falling off leaders’ priority list. Only 11% of budget is predicted to be spent on bricks and mortar and under one-in-five (17%) think it’s the best channel to sell through, rating last amongst all channels in each cases. This lack of attention is maybe unsurprising given three-in-five (60%) find it difficult to compete with digitally native brands and marketplaces.
Ken Platt, director of eRetail & Marketplaces EMEA at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology, said: “Online competition is as high because it’s ever been and types that fail to recognise the unique opportunities presented by different channels risk being left behind by peers. It’s tough to balance coherent and consistent brand principles while devising dedicated strategies for each audience, however it’s a challenge retailers need to overcome. A real omnichannel framework recognises that no channel is ideal and as an alternative focuses on putting all the jigsaw pieces together.”
The rise of retail media
The excellent news is that it appears as if much of the market has caught on to the retail media boom, with two-thirds (67%) saying they’ve already implemented a retail media strategy. However, 34% remain unclear on what an efficient retail media network entails, adding one other complex channel to understand to the retail mixing pot.
Unsurprisingly, 57% say it’s hard to find agency partners with the appropriate retail media expertise to help them make investments in retail media, even with data at their fingertips. 53% go as far to say it’s difficult to discover the appropriate retailer sites to buy media on to drive traffic and sales.
Platt concluded: “Retailers are increasingly seeing the worth in reaching shoppers directly on the digital point of purchase, particularly because the depreciation of third-party cookies makes it harder to understand what customers want. Retail Media not only uses first-party data and offers higher ROI, it offers clarity in a world with fragmented channels and waning budgets. Leaders aren’t on their very own when embarking on this journey, but time is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before slow movers are truly omitted within the cold.”
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