While Best Buy, Sears and Target came up tops in a recent survey on successful cross-channel selling, retailers are surprisingly behind the curve in what works and what doesn't, according to a new survey.
The study looked at the capabilities of some of the largest cross-channel retailers (excluding Walmart), and found that just 12%, for example, had the capability to access a customer's pending web order in store.
"And two years ago, when we did this study, only a small percentage of retailers allowed customers to purchase an item online and return it instore," Mark Fodor, CEO of CrossView, which provides cross-channel solutions and which conducted the survey, tells Marketing Daily, "and while it was 100% of companies this time, it illustrates how slow retailers can be in moving to deal with crosschannel capabilities."
Another area where retailers lag is using collaborative filtering, which provides tailored recommendations to customers, with only 52% taking advantage of it. "These are things that should be no-brainers, and they're not. You hear the words 'multichannel' and 'crosschannel' often, but very few retailers can deliver it."
Target, which ranked third in its survey, bears close watching, he says. The Minneapolis-based retailer just switched from Amazon's e-commerce platform to its own last week, "so it will be interesting to see what it does now that it is controlling that technology."
And while Target has made industry-leading progress with its adaptation of mobile technology, that channel is still a big question mark.
"Mobile is the true glue between customer and retailer, and links stores to the individual, if they allow it, enabling them to understand their behavior in and out of stores." But things like GPA awareness aren't yet being used effectively. "The most important thing for a retailer on its mobile site, for example, is the store locator. But once shoppers are in the store, that's the least important. So mobile can really help stores understand, contextually, where shoppers are. That's the great differentiator and no one has really done that yet," he says.
With economic concerns weighing more heavily on shoppers as they move into the fourth quarter, Fodor expects to see an exceptionally promotion-oriented holiday season, he says: "People want to shop online, especially with gas prices where they are."