Warnings of store closures and the retail apocalypse have been rampant over the past few years. However, what’s often overlooked is the Darwinian-like process by which retail is evolving. Year-on-year, brands have been making smarter, more consumer-focused investments in omnichannel marketing, with traditional players such as Target and Walmart fighting alongside digital-first brands like Warby Parker and Away for consumer dollars.

Here are a few key trends observed in L2’s omnichannel report:

Changing table stakes: Key omnichannel features such as store hours and directions and in-store returns have become table stakes in successful retail strategies. However, leading brands have begun to focus on advanced features such as the option to filter products by in-store availability and the use of individual store images to make them more recognizable and inviting to consumers.

Flexible checkout: 84% of analyzed brands allow customers to modify their shipping method at checkout, but only 58% of brands that offer in-store pickup allow shoppers to switch to this option at checkout. Target’s provision of same-day pickup at checkout is the mark of an omnichannel pacesetter, as only a third of analyzed big box retailers support this feature.

Omnichannel

Balancing fulfillment: As of December, over 75% of brands in L2’s study offered free shipping, although 65% of them required a median $50 spend in order to qualify. Nearly half of brands with this type of conditional spending threshold also featured a countdown to indicate how close customers came to reaching the minimum.

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