UK Retailers: The Most Mature In Omni-Channel Retail
Thursday, November 9, 2017

UK Retailers – The Most Mature in Omni-Channel Retail

The recent OrderDynamics’ Omni-1000 study examined the actual omni-channel capabilities of more than 1,000 retailers around the world. A key finding emerged that UK retailers are the most mature out of the omni-channel regional markets.  But they still have plenty of room to grow. This claim can be made based on the in-depth review of 200 British websites, including policies and capabilities of retailers to deliver on services like in-store pickup orders, return in-store capabilities, and the level of inventory visibility provided.

Across the UK, 80.2% of retailers offer free shipping at some levelUnsurprisingly, given the advanced technical economy the UK enjoys, 93.5 percent of all retailers reviewed offered an e-commerce site. But just offering online or in-store sales doesn’t mean a retailer is truly omni-channel. So, what makes the UK more omni-channel friendly than their global peers? And where do they stand to make improvements so that they continue to lead the pack?

Alternative Fulfillment Options

Modern shoppers expect free shipping, albeit at times with a minimum value shipment. But breaking free of the free shipping expectation is a challenge for most retailers. Across the UK, 80.2 percent of retailers offer free shipping at some level.

However, there is still a significant opportunity for retailers to leverage order management technologies to optimize their business processes. For example, ship-from-store capabilities may be common, but consolidating orders into one shipment saves considerable costs – yet it is a rare capability.

Buy Online Pickup In Store

67 percent of retailers offer buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) services, also known as click and collect. As one of the telltale signs of effective cross-channel integrations and services, this is the primary indicator of the UK’s leadership globally.

To elaborate, BOPIS is an obvious symbol for omni-channel functionality. It requires an effective strategy and comprehensive set of features that omni-channel itself requires: a blend of online and offline services and advanced inventory visibility. Essentially, it’s the peak of giving customers unlimited options for how and when to shop and how to take ownership of their purchased items, built on a legitimate organizational foundation.

Of course, even though the UK is a relatively mature click and collect market, there is still ample opportunity for non-omni-channel retailers to start their efforts now. Get ahead of the one-third retailers who are slower in developing omni-channel initiatives.


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Make Fulfillment Options Obvious

One area that UK retailers need considerable improvement in is one of the easiest things to fix. That is, among the large number of retailers actively providing in-store pickup services, only 53.7 percent advertised or called it out on the front page of their e-commerce site. Why go through the trouble of implementing these strategies if you’re not going to promote them? It’s a key customer service initiative, and customers want to, and deserve to know you offer it.

66% of UK retailers only offer a single notification method for click & collectIn addition, 23.9 percent of the fulfillment policies reviewed in the UK are still influenced by legal jargon. This often turns most customers off. If there’s a complication or gray area in their mind, they’ll turn away from it. And if that complication is a service that makes their lives less complicated, then you’ve got a pretty easy answer. Clean up the lingo!

And taking it one step further, to the time of actual pickup, retailers must let their customers know when the order is ready. Of course, this can be easily overlooked as a standard process, and most (2/3) UK retailers offer a single notification method, usually an email message. Doing better, one in four retailers offer their customers two notification methods. But rarely do they offer calls, text, emails, voice messages, social media DMs and more all as options. It’s such an easy change, and helps customers get the information they need, when they need it, however they prefer (sound familiar?)

UK Retailers Are Omni-channel Leaders, With Lots of Room to Grow

As omni-channel retail continues to grow in importance for retailers across the globe, UK retailers as a whole seem to be more prepared than most. However, there are a lot of simple things that offer a significant promise for better customer service and flexibility. So far, so good, but since when has that ever been good enough?


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