Despite the hype about traditional brick-and-mortar retailers becoming extinct, e-commerce accounted for just 8.4% of all US retail sales in Q3 2016. No matter the convenience, e-commerce alone cannot compete with the allure of seeing and feeling intended purchases in person.
However, the overwhelming majority of retail sales are influenced by digital, and consumer preferences are shifting towards a channel agnostic shopping experience. For example, survey results show that 57% of online buyers prefer to pick up their purchases in store due to the lower cost, immediacy, and convenience. Few retailers are responding to these changes with new technologies. L2’s latest omnichannel study finds that a slim majority (52%) of retailers employ the bare minimum of site and store integration and less than half (47%) offer buy online or in-store pickup.
Some retailers are doing better than others – Nordstrom, Target, Staples and Walgreens all operate retail properties across web, mobile and in-store to engage and convert customers. Features like the option to browse in-store merchandise from the product navigation and search are standard for those retailers, and implemented in only one in five retailers in the study.
Omnichannel technology is investment heavy and requires commitment, but meeting the needs of new consumer behaviors – which are more mobile and informed than ever before – is a zero sum game. The digital powerhouses are not investing for a share of retail, they’re investing to own consumer behavior.