/ Conquering Retail’s 6 Biggest Cross-Channel Challenges

For retailers operating across multiple channels today, the deluge of data received is a blessing and a curse. The upside? Retailers can know more about their channels, customers, supply chain, and operations than ever before. The rub? While most retailers are employing numerous systems to collect this data, it’s just amassing in information siloes without giving insights into better engaging their customers or optimizing their business.

Here are retail’s 6 biggest cross-channel challenges in the era of infinite data:

  1. The brand experience differs depending on the channel. Omnichannel engagement is the holy grail for tech-savvy retailers—but actually achieving it can be time-consuming. 59% of retailers feel that a lack of brand coordination is their top operational challenge. While some retailers are working 24/7 to engage (with a consistent message) with customers via email, call centers, social media, print, and more, many are still using different platforms to collect and distribute data—making for inconsistent, widely-varying perceptions of the brand.
  2. Customers feel disconnected from ads that don’t speak directly to them. They expect to receive promotions targeted to their interests, at the appropriate time, in the way they want to engage—and figuring out how to do just that is a challenge for 49% of retailers today. Expertly accessing data across channels, departments, and systems is the correct way to cross-channel retail—and some brands, like Cabela’s and Staples, are already putting that data to use and setting the bar high.
  3. Inventory arrives late, gets lost, or sells out. More than half of retailers note that they struggle with cross-channel inventory deployment because of missing information and data stuck in silos. For example, Google’s release of its Nexus 4 smartphone. The demand was great, but the company didn’t offer presales, so there was no visibility into demand. The phone sold out in minutes, leaving customers disheartened and frustrated and the company with a gaping missed opportunity.
  4. Shipping and fulfillment are buggy, and a little too expensive at best. Today’s most successful retailers go out of their way to make buying and returning products as effortless, and reasonably-priced, as possible. But 44% of retailers say that it remains difficult to fulfill all of their orders in a cost-effective way. Once again, the issue boils down to divided data and a lack of applicable knowledge across channels.
  5. Prices and promotions differ across channels. You know what really squashes omnichannel efforts? Customers finding that prices and promotions vary across your channels. Unfortunately, this lack of coordination plagues more than a third of retailers. Ideally, better cross channel-data would take product performance in stores and online into account and equalize prices and promotions across channels.
  6. People are abandoning carts, and you don’t know why. The dreaded abandoned cart. For online retailers, too many of these can spell doom. The key to avoiding abandonment and guaranteeing successful ecommerce is learning what differentiates your online offerings from your competitors: How long are people on your site? Where do they leave to? And when do they leave? Gathering and understanding that data could provide insights into your strengths and uncover your weaknesses for you to eliminate—but 18% of retailers say they’re still not clear on what sets them apart online.

Cross-channel retailing is crucial to get just right. Retailers who want to rise to the top need to understand the simple solutions they can access to make the above six challenges past-tense. Read more about how current retailers are solving cross-channel challenges with Domo by downloading the full whitepaper here.