While Team GB enjoyed their most successful Winter Olympics since 1924, retailers have locked horns in the second event of our retail omni-lympics - the snow cross channel experience.

While Team GB enjoyed their most successful Winter Olympics since 1924, retailers have locked horns in the second event of our retail omni-lympics - the snow cross channel experience.

This event judged retailers’ ability to delight the customer, regardless of channel.

Twice as hard as an Olympic triathlon, retailers battled it out across six key areas, each critical to the customer experience:

  • Click and collect - Allowing customers to order through the online channel and pick up in a physical store offers cost savings for the retailer, the opportunity to upsell and convenience for the customer. Judges looked out for contenders with the most efficient service and best in-store signage to take the lead.
  • Order tracking through retailer’s website - Most retailers leave the ‘last mile’ up to their courier partners. Judges rewarded those contenders who put their brand stamp on the end-to-end experience.
  • Responsive design - this has received a lot of media attention of late. It can put retailers in a good position to offer that much sought after consistent experience across devices – all with minimal effort.  Judges considered this as part of an overall assessment of a contender’s m-commerce offering.
  • Apps - Competitors with a mobile app or mobile apps are able to offer deep customer engagement and a more personalised experience with techniques like geo-fencing and push messaging.  Judges considered this as part of a broader m-commerce strategy.
  • Scannable codes in store - Another new technique, retailers that offer a mechanism for customers to access more product information in-store can reap the double benefit of helping them shop and learning more about their in-store browsing behaviour.  Points were awarded based on availability and prevalence.

Event highlights

Fred Perry was a stand out in this event. They were one of a very few who offer customers order tracking via their website. This eases the end to end process for the customer who has a single point for order tracking – as opposed to having to visit a courier’s website. In addition, the brand’s mobile site has a clear intuitive design and excellent product imagery.  The drop down menu quickly shows key site functionality such as registration, account management and checkout to speed up the buying process.

Miss Selfridge offers a fantastic mobile app which makes the buying process very easy; customers can scan product codes in store which direct them to the website to check stock in a particular size and at different locations.  A key thing the brand does really well is promoting its channels. It is surprising how many retailers have gone to the effort of implementing click and collect, reserve in store etc. but don’t tell their customers about this.

Fat Face also provided a notable mobile experience with a simple opening screen split into four categories with easy links to social media sites while click and collect is highlighted online, in store and through its catalogue. 

Who suffered a wipe-out?

Our researchers were surprised to discover only 50% of retailers benchmarked offer click and collect.  In addition, while the service is promoted as convenient, it was all too common for customers to have to wait in the regular queue in store rather defeating the object.

So with the Winter Paralympic Games due to start on 7 March, stay tuned next week for the third event in the omni-lympics – the personalisation half-pipe.

Mark Williams, European Sales Director, eCommera