Perhaps Amazon is to blame for the surge in online fulfillment capabilities among department stores over the past year. A comparison of fulfillment features for 37 brands assessed in the 2013 and 2014 Department Store reports shows more than half offer free shipping vs. less than a third in 2013. Similarly, the number of department stores offering free shipping with no purchase minimum has more than doubled, from 11% to 27%.
Despite omnichannel becoming a trend, in-store fulfillment capabilities are improving at a slower pace. The share of department stores offering in-store returns increased by just 3% to 75%. And just 19% of the 36 brands measured offer real-time store inventory search online, a meager improvement from 2013.