A new study finds adoption of omnichannel inventory practices, such as allowing consumers to buy-online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), otherwise known as click-and-collect, as well as providing shoppers with access to basic inventory visibility, has been slow—especially among smaller retailers.
The “Omni-2000 Research: Global” study released Tuesday by e-commerce solutions and inventory management firm OrderDynamics found only 37.6 percent of the retailers researched in the study offered click-and-collect. The United States had the lowest concentration of BOPIS-equipped retailers for the second year in a row, with just 27.5 percent. However, retailers in the U.K. have been much faster in keeping up with consumer demands, boasting a 64 percent adoption rate for the service.
Additionally, OrderDynamics researchers concluded that only 11.4 percent of omnichannel merchants had optimized their websites for mobile commerce, an important factor with click-and-collect services as more consumers make their purchases on a mobile device. According to the study, 57.1 percent operated a BOPIS service without advertising it on their front page, and only 34.8 percent could commit to having the product in-store within 24 hours.
Perhaps most surprisingly, 13.7 percent of retailers had no e-commerce presence at all.
Larger retailers—those with more 251 stores—lead the way in BOPIS, with a 48.6 percent adoption rate, while 31.5 percent of smaller chains (10 to 50 stores) offer the service. Considering 69 percent of consumers have “tried omnichannel retailing and would like to see more of it,” larger retailers may have a valuable head start in the race to lure in the next generation of consumers. Mid-sized retailers also might be able to differentiate themselves from similarly sized competition by offering click-and-collect.
Another key differentiator in the race to digitization, according to OrderDynamics, is active inventory visibility online, which is offered by less than half of retailers in the study (44.1 percent). Researchers considered a retailer to have “active” inventory visibility if a product page offered inventory information beyond “out-of-stock.”
The study, the second in a series that began last year, opened by investigating more than 5,000 retailers from the United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. OrderDynamics then narrowed down the study to 2,026 retailers that operated 10 or more stores and had a web presence. Of the organizations studied, 37 percent were American businesses, and 36 percent were fashion retailers.
Researchers then used a randomized, consumer-centric approach to discover the various e-commerce capabilities of a given organization. They found—despite all the fanfare about inventory digitization and omnichannel purchasing—that the industry has yet to catch up to the hype.
“To increase sales and retain customers, omnichannel retailers today need to provide customers with clarity,” OrderDynamics CEO Nick McLean said. “Whether it is low-stock visibility or general service awareness about cross-channel fulfillment, these are opportunities to get closer to what drives customer demand.”