2020 Omnichannel Benchmark Report: How COVID is Reshaping Omnichannel Operations

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2020 Omnichannel Benchmark Report: How COVID is Reshaping Omnichannel Operations

Virtually all retailers aspire to provide coordinated, customer-centric experiences no matter how many channels a consumer uses — even if retailers’ aspirations don’t always match their achievements. The savviest omnichannel retailers are able to exploit the specific capabilities of each touch point — brick-and-mortar stores, online and mobile — to enhance every aspect of the shopper journey.

Needless to say, COVID-19 shifted both retailers’ capabilities and their omnichannel priorities. This ninth annual Retail TouchPoints Omnichannel Benchmark Report, based on a survey of 106 retail executives, presents a snapshot of an industry grappling with change at an unprecedented scale. It’s also a portrait of retailers’ agility in responding to the crisis.

Key takeaways from this year’s survey include:

  • A higher percentage of retailers are conducting business via a website (72%) than through brick-and-mortar stores (66%);
  • Among digital-only retailers, 21% are operating exclusively online because COVID-19 forced them to close their physical locations;
  • Among brick-and-mortar retailers, 33% already have, or are in the process of, closing underperforming stores due to COVID. Nearly as many (31%) plan to “significantly” reduce their store counts;
  • More than half (56%) of retailers have added phone/text chats with store associates to their digital experience as a way to replicate in-store services; and
  • To further enhance the online shopping experience, 43% of respondents said they now offer virtual appointments with a salesperson/stylist and 20% have deployed AR/VR technology.

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