Report Finds U.S. Retailers Underperforming in Key Omnichannel Categories

Given all the attention paid to buy online pickup in store including its popularity with shoppers, only 28% of U.S. retailers currently offer the omnichannel service, compared to 64% of British retailers providing its cousin click and collect, according to a report from OrderDynamics.

In fact, the U.S. was found to be a laggard in many aspects of omnichannel, despite being the world’s largest retail market, OrderDynamics found. For instance, only 20.1% of retailers here are set up to sell on Instagram, and just 8.9% have an ecommerce site optimized for mobile, even though most (74%) have a responsive design. This is despite the fact that 57% of U.S. smartphone owners make multiple mobile commerce purchases per month.

As for BOPIS, there was variance by company size, the survey found. For instance, 43% of enterprise retailers here with more than 250 stores had a store pickup program in place, compared to 28% for midsized chains with 101-250 stores and 18% for smaller companies with 51-100 stores. Similarly, the larger the company, the more likely to be enabled to sell on Instagram.

Overall, OrderDynamics found 63% of U.S. retailers offer some type of free shipping. The largest group (27%) offer it on orders under $25, most likely to counteract Amazon’s normal $25 threshold (now suspended for the holidays). Very few retailers set their free shipping threshold over $100, with less than 8% each making it from $100-$149 or over $150.

In terms of categories, the survey found footwear retailers were most likely to offer free shipping (86%), followed by fashion (77%), health and cosmetics (67%) and department stores (66%).

Interestingly, the number of U.S. retailers providing active inventory visibility dropped by nearly half since 2017, from 63% to 33%. Active means a view of inventory levels on a SKU at any given time, vs. passively showing the item as either in stock or out of stock. OrderDynamics speculated this was likely due to a fear of competitors taking advantage of weak inventory positioning.

“Passive techniques are clever,” the company noted in the report. “However, they leave consumers with a sense of ambiguity. There isn’t a proactive indicator telling the consumer that there are 3 left of a given product. It misses the opportunity to create a sense of urgency when there are only 2 units left of a certain item at the store near the shopper.”

Researchers for OrderDynamics mystery shopped at 753 U.S. retail chains that had at least 10 stores and an ecommerce site.

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