For the vast majority of brands, omnichannel, and the inherent data, are no longer options but the current norm. But have they all made the transition? What are their priorities and concerns? In order to gain an overview of the current situation, SQLI, an agency specialised in unified commerce, and L'Usine Digitale, a media organisation focused on digital transformation, carried out a survey involving more than 200 corporate decision-makers based in France, providing key insights into companies' positioning.
Growing maturity in omnichannel, driven by large companies
The study reveals that omnichannel is gradually progressing in the corporate world: four out of ten companies have already worked on an omnichannel-related project or intend to do so. This dynamic remains driven by large companies (with 500 or more employees), which benefit from greater experience in the deployment of omnichannel strategies. Companies that provide products and/or services at both retail outlets and via e-commerce websites also play a key role in driving omnichannel forward.
94% of them have already identified the direction(s) of their organisation in this area. While the others have not yet made a start, two out of ten companies are currently considering or deploying an omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel to meet the expectations of consumers
Omnichannel is a topic that aroused much interest among decision-makers questioned. There are many perceived benefits of such a strategy: mainly, the ability to meet the expectations of consumers with a seamless journey involving all channels (67%), the ability to offer a suitable solution for the behaviours of each customer segment (57%), and the anticipation of technological developments (65%).
Nevertheless, difficulties do exist in the transition to omnichannel, both at retail outlets and online. The top two mentioned were the unification and use of data. Only 10% of respondents perceived no difficulties in the deployment of an omnichannel strategy in their organisation.
Optimisation and analysis of the customer journey at the centre of concerns
In order to optimise the customer journey, four out of ten decision-makers favour content personalisation. The autonomy of customers was also one of the priorities of decision-makers (30%). Unsurprisingly, companies that use both retail outlets and e-commerce websites are more concerned by optimisation of the customer journey.
The essential role of data in meeting this objective through the analysis of customer data was also confirmed. Four out of ten decision-makers segment data for marketing purposes and four out of ten use data. And yet, only 41% of respondents consider that their companies perform sufficient analysis of the behavioural data they gather, which indicates that many companies do not make a sufficient effort to meet the challenges raised by data.
Decision makers envisaging omnichannel commerce projects over the coming years are mainly looking to digital technologies in order to continue to improve the customer journey, such as click-and-collect and tablets for sales staff, which is further evidence that optimisation of the journey remains the number one challenge for French companies.
For Paul Camicas, e-Commerce Practice Leader at SQLI: "The main lesson we can draw from this study is that hyper-personalisation of the experience, journey, product and relationship can no longer wait. This is the spearhead of all major brands. However, a paradox can be observed: brands are not equipped to use all of the data gathered, which is needed for this hyper-personalisation, and are therefore unable to make the transition. There is a clear need for marketing teams dedicated to consumer segmentation. "
Background of the study
202 respondents took part in the study during the month of May 2019. They were mainly members of general management, Sales Directors and IT Directors. Various types of companies were represented, from a wide range of sectors, such as corporate services, industry, retail, banking, finance and insurance, personal services and construction.
52% of these companies sell products and/or services via retail outlets and e-commerce websites, while the others use only a single sales channel. To read the full results of the study and obtain more insights, download the detailed report (in French).