Omnichannel commerce is becoming an increasingly relevant topic in the retail landscape and, therefore, also in ecommerce. According to business and strategy consultancy McKinsey & Company, omnichannel commerce is rising, making it an important topic for retailers. We asked our network of retailers how they are currently positioned and received responses from 642 companies across more than 20 industries. This blog post shows you the most exciting results of the retailer survey on omnichannel commerce! Afterwards, you can delve even deeper into the topic with our free ebook and pick up exciting insights and valuable tips.
This is what the Shopware Omnichannel Survey revealed
The retailers represent around 20 different industries, with a relatively balanced distribution of the individual industries in the sample. The most frequently represented industries are IT & communications (11 %), Food (10 %), Services & crafts (8 %) and Living (8 %). In terms of business relationships maintained, business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) are the most common, at around 45 %, followed by retailers, each of which is active in B2C (34 %) or B2B business (21 %).
It is striking that the vast majority (62 %) of the participating retailers have a team of less than ten employees. 24 % of the respondents have fewer than 50 employees, and larger teams are rare.
The large discrepancy in the use of omnichannel potentials
There is a wide discrepancy in the use of omnichannel potential. Around 87 % of all retailers consider omnichannel commerce to be very important, as the linking of all sales and communication channels is (rather) important to them. Accordingly, it could be assumed that a large number of retailers are already relying on this important and promising sales concept. In fact, however, the survey shows that at the time of the survey only 18 % of retailers were exploiting the growth potential of omnichannel commerce. Retailers who only serve one sales channel (single channel) are in the minority at around 17 %. A cross-channel concept is already being implemented by 23 % of retailers, but the retail companies most frequently pursue a multichannel concept (43 %), within which at least one offline and online channel is operated, but these are not linked with each other, so that a change of channel cannot take place without information and process breaks.
Omnichannel commerce places the customer at the center of all activities. Due to this customer-centric approach, the customer experience is of significant relevance in this form of sales. Retailers attribute a correspondingly high level of importance to omnichannel in their business practice, and there is also a uniform understanding with regard to the creation of a customer or shopping experience: For 94 % of retailers, the customer experience is (rather) important and for 88 % of retailers, it is perceived as being just as important as the product features and service qualities. This means that omnichannel retailers are establishing key success factors in their strategy: channel diversity and linking of existing sales channels. But why is it that a large number of retailers are not using this apparently promising sales concept to exploit growth potential?
Excursion: Sales channels quickly explained
Omnichannel commerce stands for a unified and seamless buying experience across all channels a retailer offers. The best known is probably single-channel commerce, where retailers operate a single channel, such as an online store or a brick-and-mortar store. Building on this, we find multichannel commerce, where at least two independent sales channels are operated (at least one physical and one digital sales channel). Accordingly, it is impossible to order goods in the online store and complete the purchase in the retail store, as is the case with omnichannel commerce, for example. Cross-channel commerce is an extension of multichannel commerce. Here, a hybrid form of omnichannel commerce and multichannel commerce exists. With at least three sales channels, two channels interact with each other in this case, allowing the customer to switch between them without any problems. The third channel remains autonomous.
Challenges of omnichannel commerce
Common barriers to entry are technical hurdles, high complexity in implementing individual processes and systems of an omnichannel strategy, and a lack of resources (costs, personnel, time). The lack of know-how is another reason why retailers have not yet adopted an omnichannel concept. In addition, other retailers do not yet trust themselves with the topic of omnichannel at the beginning of the venture. It turns out that retailers still associate some hurdles and ignorance with this sales concept. To give you more security and to support you in using the potential of omnichannel commerce, we provide you with helpful tips in our Omnichannel eBook.
Omnichannel retailers benefit from increased sales, reach, and visibility
Retailers who have already embraced omnichannel, on the other hand, report very positive improvements in customer experience and customer experience management. They also say a significant increase in sales, brand awareness, reach, and visibility among their target groups. Overall, they see omnichannel commerce as a "simple, future-proof, and profitable concept" with perfect scaling capabilities as an "all-in-one platform."
Survey result: Success factors for a successful customer experience
Channel diversity and linkage
Fast and straightforward processes
Fast and friendly customer service
Changes in the pandamic
A whopping 74 % from our surveyed merchant network have noticed a change in customer buying behavior over the pandemic, with around 25 % expanding their sales channels as a result. Merchants mentioned the following new sales channels most frequently:
- Online store
- Marketplaces (z. B. Amazon, eBay, OTTO, Kaufland)
Interestingly, this also coincides with the generally most-used sales channels of the retailers surveyed. In decreasing order, we find here:
- 1. Online store (95 %)
- 2. Stationary retail store (55 %)
- 3. Amazon (35 %)
- 4. eBay (29 %)
- 5. Facebook (29 %)
- 6. Instagram (27 %)
Why omnichannel commerce is so important for retailers
Due to disruptive commerce changes, companies face the central challenge of repositioning themselves and adapting to technological changes. The goal here is to respond to changing consumer behavior. Customers are mobile, independent of time and place, which is why their behavior is determined by the simultaneous and arbitrary use of channels in the purchasing process ("omnichannel behavior"). They expect companies to have a cross-channel presence and want a seamless shopping experience without process interruptions. As a result, consumers decide even more specifically when, where, and via which channels they obtain information and make purchases. Consequently, retailers need to have a presence where customers are. As it turns out, many retailers are not yet prepared for this.
Retail will continue to change in the coming years and become increasingly connected and digital. Current developments show that growth will continue to be generated predominantly via online channels. However, the linking of online, stationary, and mobile will also continue to be driven forward. Consequently, it is expected that customers' desire for simultaneous use of different shopping channels will significantly increase. This is already clear because only around 16 % of those surveyed operate a single channel. The trend is moving toward more sales channels and linking them with each other as the technical possibilities grow. Find out in our eBook how you can adequately utilize the digital potential of an omnichannel strategy and set yourself apart from the competition with customer-oriented channel diversity.