Close

Choose a country

United KingdomEnglish
South AfricaEnglish
IndiaEnglish
InternationalEnglish

The Retail Omnichannel Has Been With Us For Years, But Retailers Still Fail

Blog
24th May 2016

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania recently published a paper in their Knowledge @ Wharton journal focused on the failure of retailers to adopt a omnichannel service style even though the benefits of doing so have been clear for at least six years.

Wharton researchers believe that many retailers are finding it extremely hard to deliver a true omnichannel experience that approaches what customers expect so they prefer to hide their failings or just rename the strategy.

In the Wharton paper Beth Ann Kaminkow, former executive vice president of the Westfield shopping centre company and currently COO of Wearable Experiments, a wearable technology firm, said: “We’re a long way off” from a true omnichannel experience.” Kaminkow added: “There’s still distance; it’s way off in the future. That’s why people prefer to rename it or not talk about it.”

What is the problem that Wharton is identifying?

The paper suggests that retailers selling shoes is a good place to start. Walk into a shoe store today and the experience is almost exactly the same as you might have known 20 or 30 years ago – before the Internet and social networks. Before all the multiple information channels we now have, you walked in the store, tried on a pair of shoes and bought them if they felt OK. In 2016 this is still how most people buy shoes.

Wharton identifies three areas that are blocking true omnichannel adoption:

1. Integration of the front-end and back-end; it’s hard to create a complete picture of your stock and supply chain and most retailers manage by carrying more stock than they need. It’s expensive to improve this, but essential if online is to be blended with the physical retail store.

2. Finding the right expertise; most tech and CRM or supply chain experts are involved in technology companies, not retailers. Many retailers struggle to hire the right skills and find that contracting expertise is expensive.

3. No industry collaboration; in some areas of retail it might be beneficial for all competing retailers to work together to improve their area of the market, but there is very little collaboration and just a strong sense of competition between brands.

I thought that there was a particularly important comment within the Wharton paper where it asks the question, if we were building this retailer from the ground up today then how would the online service work and what would customers really want from a physical store? It’s a good question because it is clear that customers want both, but in an omnichannel world the purpose of the physical store may no longer be just for sales alone.

The Wharton paper is a fascinating exploration of the retail omnichannel and how some retailers might need to just create a new ‘blank slate’ strategy if they want to succeed in future. You can read the complete paper on Knowledge @ Wharton here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *


David Turner
Article by: David Turner

News & Insights

Recommended for you
Solution Designer
Service Provider
Technology Enabler
News
Webhelp creates a buzz at Sheffield customer experience centre

Leading business process outsourcer (BPO), Webhelp, has announced a new partnership with Plan Bee Ltd, with the installation of its first ever bee colony at its customer experience centre in Sheffield. The importance of honey bees to food production has come into sharper focus recently, with greater recognition of the vital role that bees play in either pollinating the many vegetables and...

News
Webhelp to sponsor Josh Llewellyn-Jones’ Fitness Feats

    Webhelp UK, one of the country’s leading customer experience and business process outsourcers (BPO), has proudly announced its sponsorship of ultra-athlete and cystic fibrosis warrior Josh Llewellyn-Jones. It will support him through a series of remarkable fitness...

Blog
Tips to optimise your business’ cash flow

Lack of cash: all fashion brands are short of cash at some time or another. This was the reason for organising a workshop entitled: "Cash is king - How to optimise cash flow at each stage of your development". It was suggested by the Fédération Française du Prêt à Porter Féminin (French...

Whitepaper
B2B Marketplaces are blossoming

Following our publication last year of " The Spring of B2B Marketplaces ": it is time to look back and to answer these questions: has there been some movement in the market? Have B2B players evolved in their marketplace business models? Is launching a new market observatory worthwhile? The answers...

Case Studies
Webhelp People Analytics

...

×

Webhelp Cookies Preference Centre

Strictly Necessary Cookies
The website requires the use of cookies for essential functional requirements and these are outlined in the terms and conditions.

Enhanced Functional Cookies
Some features of this website use services provided by third parties websites. These features use cookies to implement their services on this website and may collect data about your visit to help them optimize their functionality. The Webhelp terms and contitions outlines the cookies used by these services.

We have links to social networking such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
These websites are third party sites. We do not place cookies on their behalf, and do not have control over the way they collect or use your data.
We encourage you to read more about their policies:
Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook