Here at RevTrax, we continually think about the omnichannel consumer experience and how to improve it. In order to help us on this path, we recently attended Forrester’s “The New Omnichannel Imperative” event here in New York City lead by Forrester Analyst, Peter Sheldon. Sheldon’s research focused on identifying the causes and solutions for the widening gap between consumer expectations and retail capabilities.
Among consumers, there is no notion of disparate shopping channels. All channels, touch-points, and engagements comprise the entire experience. To illustrate this concept, Forrester estimates that 43% of US retail sales will be web-influenced offline sales in 2014. By 2017, this number is expected to grow to 50%.
Conversely, most brick and mortar retail organizations are not structured in a way that allows them to address the realities of consumer behavior. According to a November 2013 Forrester Study with Accenture and hybris software, only 16% of organizations are structured to have a single P&L across all channels. The remaining 84% are stuck not only competing with competitors but also internally over who owns the consumer.
These organizational hurdles coupled with the threat of new innovations from online pure plays has created a gap between what consumers have come to expect during the path to purchase and what retailers are able to provide. While organizational changes require senior level advocacy and are slow to take effect, many groups in the industry are working to change the conversation and return the focus on the consumer.