Omnichannel customers spend 2.7-times more at beauty products retailer Ulta Beauty than its store-only shoppers, the retailer says. And consumers who shop at retailer TechStyle Fashion Group’s Fabletics.com and in its stores spend roughly three-times more than those who only shop the retailer’s website.
The data is clear. Consumers want to shop across channels. Those who do are more profitable for merchants. That means getting omnichannel right is paramount for retailers. To find out who is winning in omnichannel, Internet Retailer editors and researchers stepped outside our cubicles, put on our consumer caps and tested retailers’ omnichannel initiatives for ourselves. We purchased from, visited and analyzed 24 retail chains to determine how merchants stack up in omnichannel. The Omnichannel Winners in U.S. E-commerce showcases our detailed analysis and findings.
The case for omnichannel
Internet Retailer surveyed consumers in March 2017 and again in March 2018 asking whether they have purchased products online and picked orders up in stores. The number of shoppers who said yes increased four percentage points year over year, with 62% of consumers in the 2018 survey saying they had purchased a product online and picked it up in store in the past year.
Retailers are responding in kind. For example, more than half—78—of the 140 retail chains in the Top 500 offer buy online, pick up in store. And 101—72.1%—of retail chains offer returns of online purchases at stores.
Going above and beyond
But the real omnichannel all stars are offering much more than the basics. They are getting creative. Take, for example, Home Depot Inc., which in 2017 launched a tool that lets a shopper—often a tradesperson or contractor—view inventory from a specific store near his worksite, purchase a product from that store online and have it delivered that same day. The retailer will also tell shoppers on its site and app precisely where an item in a specific store is located—down to the aisle and bay—in each of its sprawling home improvement superstores.
“We logged 1.8 billion visits to HomeDepot.com in 2017,” says Dave Abbott, vice president of integrated media for the home improvement retailer. “A lot of those customers have no intentions of buying online. But they want to know, ‘How do I get out of a store as quickly and painlessly as possible?’
Other retailers like Target had online orders ready for store pick up in less than an hour in our field tests. Meanwhile, Kohl’s Corp. refreshes local store inventory counts every 10 minutes online, and store associates at Sephora USA Inc. scan products used during an in-store makeover for customers to refer to—and potentially buy—later. During our researcher’s site visit, a Sephora employee took our researcher’s email address and added some products to her online account. “It can be overwhelming to make the decision on whether you want to spend $40 on a foundation. So, this lets a customer sleep on it but still easily track down what they want later,” the employee said. “I can’t tell you how many calls the store gets asking, ‘What did you use on me that one day six months ago?’ And now we can have a history of that.”
Some retailers we analyzed have quite a bit of work to do on omnichannel execution. Others have obviously put in the work to offer a refreshing, easy and impressive omnichannel experience.
Here is what you get in this 99-page PDF report:
- Overall scores of 24 retail chains based on real-world omnichannel experiments
- Analysis of 29 omnichannel metrics across 24 merchants
- 6+ data-packed charts revealing the following information:
- What percentage of retailers have which omnichannel features?
- Store pick-up rate for online orders
- What omnichannel features do retail chains in the Top 500 offer?
- What percentage of retailers offer which BOPIS features?
- Overall scores
- What percentage of retailers offer which mobile features?
- Exclusive executive interviews from Gap, Lowe’s, Untuckit, Ulta and more
- Detailed omnichannel research by merchandise category that shows how direct competitors compare
- Featured articles on omnichannel programs of major retail chains such as Home Depot and Macy’s
- Category analysis featuring leading retailers: Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s
Omnichannel Winners in U.S. E-commerce is available as part of Internet Retailer’s U.S. Reports Pro Membership and as part of Internet Retailer’s Platinum All-Access Membership. Single copy sales are also available.Favorite