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Half of UK Retailers Struggle to Connect In-store and Online

Tim Maytom

mobile shopperMost large UK retailers are still facing difficulties when it comes to delivering a consistent omnichannel experience, with 59 per cent unable to link in-store sales to online activity, and 38 per cent failing to offer consistent pricing across all channels.

The figures comes from a new study on multichannel retailers by RetailMeNot which found that while 92 per cent of large multichannel retailers are now selling online in the UK, 59 per cent consider a lack of visibility across channels to be one of the biggest challenges they face today.

50 senior marketing executives at leading multichannel retailers were interviewed as part of the study in order to understand how they are working to deliver a more omnichannel experience for consumers. While companies are beginning to integrate their in-store and online teams for a more consistent experience, most marketing budgets remain siloed.

42 per cent of UK retailers have restructured their business to bring together online and in-store teams, while 30 per cent are currently transitioning to a combined retail team. Six per cent are considering combining their teams, while almost a quarter do not think it will be necessary.

"As consumers increasingly expect a consistent experience across all channels, high street retailers simply cannot afford to stand still," said Severine Philardeau, vice president of retail and brand solutions at RetailMeNot. "Connecting the dots between online and in-store behaviour and sales is absolutely imperative, and holds the key to improving the shopper experience and maximising the effectiveness of investments in digital and mobile marketing and promotions."

Retailers are focused on mobile and email in particular when in comes to connecting the in-store and online shopping experience, with 77 per cent of leading UK retailers having initiatives in place to gather customer email addresses in-store and online, in order to link together behaviour and spending.

The study also found that retailers are turning to partner firms for assistance, with 71 per cent working on initiative with third parties to gain greater visibility in the multichannel shopper experience.

"With three out of five large retailers still unable to link in-store sales to online activity, opportunities to drive sales and strengthen brand loyalty are undoubtedly being missed," said Philardeau. "To address this challenge and truly act like an omnichannel business, retailers should consider bringing together their in-store and online teams and calling on more of the expertise and support that partners can provide to connect the in-store and online shopping experience."

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