Benefits outweigh challenges with omnichannel investment: research

By Freya Purnell
With consumer products companies adopting omnichannel strategies to reach consumers directly as well as through traditional retail channels, SAP commissioned a multi-country survey of marketing decision-makers in omnichannel consumer products organisations.

The report found that while 86 per cent of respondents said omnichannel has meant that customer and consumer expectations of the organisation have increased, the same proportion also agree that the benefits of investing in an omnichannel approach to consumer sales clearly outweigh the challenges.

Companies that have a multi-channel strategy for sales, most companies say that their organisation has experienced increased sales (74 per cent), increased consumer loyalty/acquisition (64 per cent), competitive advantage (62 per cent), and better consumer experience (57 per cent).

However, there is obviously still some room for improvement, with just 16 per cent of businesses saying they are currently meeting all business and analysis needs for consumer experience via multi-channel.

The survey suggested that simply operating a large number of channels is not a competitive strategy moving forward, but consumer products companies must now apply data gleaned directly from consumer interactions – via enquiries for information, online purchases, social engagement and more – to improve the consumer experience.

E.J. Kenney, senior vice president, global head of consumer industries, SAP, said consumer expectation will continue to be the catalyst for omnichannel strategy development.

“However, organisations have the opportunity, by collecting and harnessing omnichannel data, to not only meet consumer expectations but pre-empt and lead them. This leads to a clear competitive advantage against organizations that are less adept at cultivating a high degree of consumer intimacy while simultaneously developing the operational capacity to respond quickly and profitably to consumer needs,” Kenney said.

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