The 2012 Global Cross Channel Retailing Report has revealed Australia lags significantly in its ability to implement effective cross channel retail strategies.

When it comes to making it easy for consumers to shop both online and in physical stores, the retailers that do it best are in the categories of general merchandise and consumer electronics in the US and UK. Scoring third last out of 17 countries with only the Chinese and Turkish champions behind, Australia’s cross channel champion was named as Dick Smith with Walmart being named as global champion.
“Despite the fast growing cross channel trend and retailers’ intent to deliver a well-integrated online and store shopper experience, the study shows overall that most retailers are immature in their ability to exploit this opportunity,” commented Brian Walker, managing director of Retail Doctor Group.
“We have found a correlation between the advancement of retailers’ ecommerce capabilities and cross channel capabilities, largely determining why some retailers are more successful than others. This is particularly the case in the results we are seeing for Australia, and why the US and UK are so far ahead of their countries in these research results. Australia was an early adopter in the boom, but many retailers had their fingers burnt and have been cautious on the uptake to implement ecommerce strategies again.”
The study, conducted in conjunction with Ebeltoft Group uses a 47 Point Indicator Retailer Cross Channel Framework organised into five core areas, that rates the performance of retailers in each category for their offering in each of these five areas: consistency of shopping services across channels; the ability of shoppers to research online and buy offline; the ability to purchase online and pick up or return items in a store; a ‘connected store’ environment supported by digital shopping services; and the ability to serve customers across social, mobile and local channels.
“Research shows that cross channel customers are up to four times more valuable than single channel customers. Walmart has been fast in recognising this value and they have embraced it by offering a thousand details that connect customers across the channels, offering a seamless service and experience that makes them the global frontrunner.
“The beauty of this study is that we now have a systematic approach based on five core cross channel indicators, we can use for Australian retailers to benchmark their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses and then help close these gaps operationally,” concluded Walker.