Study reveals which retailers deliver the best omnichannel shopping experience

In Practicology’s first Omnichannel Customer Experience Report, Argos took the top spot followed closely by House of Fraser and John Lewis.

All three brands were found to provide extensive support for shoppers who use multiple touchpoints before completing a purchase. This included offering online tools and information to help shoppers who want to complete purchases in stores, and using in-store technology, signage and store staff for the benefit of shoppers who need to complete purchases online.

The report identified several different cross-channel shopping journeys that customers might take, then a scoring matrix was devised to rank each retailer against how well they supported each journey. As part of the research, Practicology visited each retailer’s website, downloaded their mobile apps, visited their stores and assessed their online and offline marketing.

Argos scored marks for factors such as offering helpful live chat and an easy to use store locator tool on its site, as well as showing store stock availability online and providing dedicated desks for collecting online purchases in store. It also scored well due to its TV and email marketing that promotes both its stores and website, and having a branded eBay presence.

Retailers who did not fare as well in the research fell down due to issues such as not replying to email queries, store staff not mentioning the website when asked about an out-of-stock item, and a lack of signage in stores to show where to collect online orders. Other factors included no click-to-call customer service phone numbers on their mobile site and having blog or editorial-style content that was not shoppable.

The study also highlights benchmarks for retailers on what they need to deliver to ensure a competitive customer experience:

- 67% of the retailers mentioned or promoted their website on store signage
- 80% had product ratings and reviews on their website
- 43% included a store stock checker on their product pages
- 70% sold giftcards that can be redeemed online
- 63% offered free WiFi in their stores
- 37% offered an e-receipt when purchasing in stores
- 17% offered same-day delivery options
- 50% replied to an email customer query within 24 hours.

Practicology chief marketing services officer Nicola Hollow said: “While researching the experience that each retailer provides, we’ve visited, sites and stores, downloaded apps, tested customer services and viewed advertising. At each stage in the customer journey we’ve asked the question ‘Does this feel like a seamless experience for the customer, and would they always feel like they were dealing with the same brand?

“Increasingly consumers use a variety of touchpoints with a brand before they complete a purchase – whether it be their website, mobile app, a store, customer services or marketing. The results and accompanying advice should help retailers to think about how to cost-effectively optimise the experience at every stage of the customer journey.”

The report ranks the following retailers: Ann Summers, Argos, B&Q, Boots, Clarks, Currys PC World, Debenhams, Goldsmiths, H Samuel, Halfords, Hotel Chocolat, House of Fraser, Jack Wills, John Lewis, Lakeland, Maplin, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Monsoon, Moss Bros, New Look, Next, Oasis, Pets at Home, River Island, Robert Dyas, The Body Shop, The White Company, Topshop and Whitestuff.

The report can be downloaded from www.practicology.com/CXreport 

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