Retail Moving Beyond Omnichannel as Consumers Demand Personalized Shopping Experiences across Channels

New research reveals 35 percent of retailers believe omnichannel execution is on track—up nearly 200 percent year over year.

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SPS Commerce Inc., a provider of retail cloud services, unveiled its fifth annual retail industry benchmark report, “Retail Insight: Moving Beyond Omnichannel.” Based on a survey of more than 500 retailers, suppliers and logistics firms worldwide, the report highlights the continuing evolution of omnichannel retailing, which started as a standalone initiative and is now becoming a mainstream foundation of broader business strategies focused on meeting consumers’ changing shopping expectations.

The survey, conducted by retail analyst firm Retail Systems Research, found that more than 35 percent of retailers are on track with their omnichannel execution, up nearly 200 percent year over year. In addition, more than 75 percent of respondents cited consumer demands as the top factor shaping their business over the next five years.

“Shopper demands for a personalized and seamless experience across all channels are outpacing the retail industry’s ability to keep pace,” said Peter Zaballos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at SPS Commerce. “The findings from this year’s industry benchmark report demonstrate the urgency of streamlining order fulfillment, the importance of real-time inventory visibility and the critical role accurate item information plays in delivering an engaging consumer shopping experience.”

“In the fifth year of publishing this benchmark study, we’ve identified the key practices of retail winners, which are growing nearly 50 percent faster than the rest of the market,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “In 2017, these companies will continue to advance their lead by forging closer collaboration with their trading community to deliver the speed and consistency across channels that consumers want and expect.”

The 2017 report highlights the strategies of retail winners, which are companies growing 4.5 percent or more annually. These companies demonstrate an increased focus on collaborating with supply chain partners, building a strong internal culture and expanding their brand awareness across all channels—which enable them to satisfy consumer demand for personalization through broader assortments and accurate, faster shipping options.

Other findings from the report include order fulfillment execution continues to be difficult due to dramatically increasing order volume and complexity, with 53 percent of respondents expecting increased online orders, 43 percent expecting increased item attribute sets, 55 percent expecting assortment expansion and 40 percent planning to increase drop-ship vendors. Legacy systems are the top factor hindering omnichannel execution, with 29 percent of companies naming legacy systems as their top obstacle.

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