New study finds retailers unprepared for omni-channel demand

HRC Advisory (HRC), a leading strategic retail advisory firm and unit of Hilco Global, has released new research that reveals that retailers are struggling to meet customers' demand for instant gratification.

Retailers in the US are working to turn their businesses into customer-centric, omni-channel models, but as many as 80% are struggling with the change.

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“Today’s consumer is driven by an ‘I want it now’ mentality, yet many retailers are still struggling to deliver, said Farla Efros, President of HRC Advisory. “Competing with pure-play e-commerce retailers, and accommodating the multitude of new fulfillment options, requires a significant increase in supply chain flexibility and better integration between the physical store and e-commerce network,” she added. “Without these changes, traditional retailers will not be able to execute a truly customer-centric model.”

One of the main problems is that online returns are expensive - they can run as high as 30% of orders and are expensive to retailers. Of the retailers surveyed, 75% also said that some of their e-commerce sales are cannibalizing sales that would have otherwise been in store.

In addition, retailers' systems and infrastructure are outdated, with 52% of retailers saying they don't have the systems in place to provide the required visibility to inventory in each store, even though fully integrating inventory and fulfillment between the online and physical store channels would be most effective.

The research also revealed that just 53% of retailers are currently able to present customers with accurate inventory information and to fulfill the entire order at the time of online purchase. However, 60% of those surveyed have plans to invest further in their e-commerce-related systems.

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