The Challenge for Retailers

The Overwhelming Abundance of Options

In the vast landscape of online shopping, consumers enjoy unparalleled convenience, with myriad channels at their fingertips to engage with their favourite brands. However, this abundance of options presents a daunting challenge for retailers, as nearly half (47%) feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of channels, struggling to deliver optimal sales experiences.

These findings emerge from Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology’s “Brands don’t fail… eRetail!” report, revealing a stark reality: while 94% of retail CEOs, founders, and C-Level executives claim to possess a multi-channel strategy, many lack clarity on what constitutes success or how to leverage the diverse array of available channels amidst fierce digital competition.

A staggering 66% admit they could utilize digital channels more effectively, with 44% grappling to maintain a consistent brand experience across every platform. Furthermore, nearly half (49%) struggle to gauge the effectiveness of their omnichannel initiatives.

Tailoring Strategies for Individual Platforms

While 59% claim to have tailored strategies for individual platforms, only 11% perceive no differentiation, and alarmingly, 29% remain oblivious to the concept altogether.

Marketplaces emerge as the preferred selling channel for 35% of leaders, closely followed by social platforms at 33%. However, the reliance on marketplaces poses a problem, with 68% viewing them as vital to their brand’s future, yet 42% perceiving their growth as a threat.

Lack of Clarity on Success Metrics

In a forewarning to traditional retail, physical stores are rapidly losing favour among leaders, with only 11% of budgets earmarked for brick-and-mortar and a mere 17% deeming it the most accessible channel to sell through. This shift in focus isn’t surprising, given that 60% struggle to compete with digitally native brands and marketplaces.

Ken Platt, director of eRetail & Marketplaces EMEA at Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology, underscores the importance of recognizing the unique opportunities presented by different channels, advocating for a cohesive omnichannel framework that embraces diversity while maintaining brand coherence.

As retailers grapple with this complexity, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon: the rise of retail media. Two-thirds (67%) have already implemented a retail media strategy, signalling an industry-wide acknowledgment of its potential. However, 34% remain uncertain about its intricacies, adding another layer of complexity to the digital retail landscape.

Despite data accessibility, 57% find identifying agency partners with the requisite retail media expertise challenging, while 53% struggle to pinpoint the suitable retailer sites for media investments.

Platt emphasizes the significance of retail media in navigating the evolving digital landscape, leveraging first-party data for better ROI and clarity amidst fragmented channels and tightening budgets. As the industry evolves, slow movers risk being left behind, underscoring the urgency for retailers to adapt and innovate in this rapidly shifting digital terrain.