Most Retailers Lag on Omnichannel, While Target Pulls Ahead for the Holidays and DSW Advances Instore Shopping

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Omnichannel marketing has captured the attention of retailers, but most industry players are still a long way from anything approaching full implementation. We’ll look at the causes of this gap, then examine how Target and DSW are leveraging omnichannel strategies to ease holiday shopping drudgery and cement customer loyalty.

Report: Omnichannel is “Essential” but Strategies are “Incomplete”

A 2016 benchmarking survey from WBR Digital and eTail East of senior retail executives uncovered some interesting insights into the current state of retailers’ omnichannel efforts. While almost 75% of those surveyed said that omnichannel marketing is essential to their business, a third said their omnichannel strategy is “not at all complete.” Why?

  • There’s a big gap between intention and action. While 75% of retailers said they consider omnichannel essential to their business, 49% said they are not actively investing in it.
  • Marketing spending is not extending to new channels. Despite its growing importance to consumers, only one percent of retailers are putting mobile marketing first in their spending. Instead, 61% say their highest spending category is search marketing, an important but not particularly innovative strategy.
  • Legacy systems make omnichannel integration tough. 39% reported that they face integration challenges due to outdated systems that can’t work together or with newer marketing technologies.

From this research, as well as our own, it seems that simple inertia is keeping many brands from implementing innovative new technologies that could transform their marketing. A whopping 84% of marketers who have historically focused on acquisition — as opposed to retention — say that their customer strategy, as it relates to growth, is based on doing things the way they’ve always been done. How can inertia possibly be a strategy for marketers trying to use new technologies to vastly improve the customer experience? It can’t.

Consumers may still have to wait quite some time for seamless experiences across some retailers, but those who are working their way towards an omnichannel future will have a competitive advantage.

Target Plans to Make Holiday Shopping More Omni-Satisfying

Target continues to move full steam ahead with its omnichannel efforts, giving consumers expanded options for picking up their online orders and offering greater savings when they shop in-store with mobile devices.

Cartwheel, Target’s mobile in-store couponing application which runs on both Android and iOS, will offer 50% off on a different toy every day until December 24th. In addition, shoppers using Cartwheel shopping kid’s “wish lists” will get an extra 10% off their purchases. According to Forbes, 50% of shoppers will use their mobile devices to comparison shop, giving Cartwheel’s deals an even better chance to reach consumers.

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Target shoppers that prefer to buy online and pick-up in-store program will find it faster and easier this holiday season with the following expanded options:

  • Order pickup started at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day, a smart compliment to online sales which this year hit an all time high at Target, reports Business Insider.
  • At stores that offer in-store pick-up, the company says 90% of orders will be ready within an hour, up from 85%. In-store items now include RFID tags, allowing employees to locate items on online orders more efficiently. Stores that process the most in-store pick-ups have been remodeled to locate order pickup with Guest Services or in a separate, designated space.  

This combination of changes highlights Target’s efforts to make its customer experience the best, which should increase loyalty and repeat purchases.

How DSW Uses Omnichannel Strategies to Win at Modern Loyalty

DSW, or Designer Shoe Warehouse, is getting close to the holy grail of omnichannel marketing: It’s built a loyalty program that offers seamless customer rewards across its online and in-store channels. The program, which now numbers 23 million members, also includes a mobile app that can be used while shopping in-store or online.

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“When you couple the success of the rewards program with a positive e-commerce experience, generous return policies and smart associates, you start to see loyalty as the cornerstone of a really rich customer experience,” comments James Lanyon, a strategist with branding firm T3, speaking with Loyalty360 about DSW.

DSW extends its rich and personalized in-store and online customer experience  to DSW.com to improve search relevancy and provide personalized content. DSW further cements customer relationships through its buy online, pickup in-store program, bringing online customers to any of its 500 locations. The company’s future plans focus on expanding this customer experience by, for example, speeding up delivery to online shoppers.

“[L]et’s say someday — someday — we [can promise] 20 minutes or less for deliveries,” asked CEO Roger Rawlins, speaking with Footwear News. “We’ve built the capabilities to provide that, so why wouldn’t we go market ourselves that way?”