L2 released today the Intelligence Report: Omnichannel Retail, which examines the efforts of 100 retailers to drive customers from click to bricks and back again. One of the findings that showcases the importance of connecting online and in-store inventory is the small difference in in-store visits when consumers are uncertain about an item’s availability vs. when they for sure know it is not available. Fourteen percent of customers will visit a store after seeing online that their item is not carried in-store, and 18% will visit a store after searching for it on a brand site that doesn’t offer inventory visibility.
Despite the clear damage from inaccessible inventory, only six of the 71 brands tracked in L2’s 2013 and 2014 studies have added in-store inventory visibility to their online channels. That number is even lower among luxury players. None of the 13 brands tracked in the study have in-store inventory search online, except for Gucci who rolled it out in 2013.
Another surprise from the report is the dearth of omnichannel role models. Walmart, Guess, Saks, and Walgreens were the only omnichannel role models among the 100 brands in the study. Others were divided into overall laggards, or brands that pushed e-commerce or in-store purchases too heavily.
Given that 50% of sales will be influenced by digital by September 2014, creating a base for omnichannel success should be a priority for retailers.