A report produced by US firm CitiXsys says New Zealand and Australian retailers are lagging behind when it comes to adopting omnichannel solutions. The report was based on a survey of 514 Australian and Kiwi consumers which was conducted at the end of last year.
CitiXsys entered the Australian and New Zealand markets in 2006.
Paula Da Silva, senior vice president of sales for CitiXsys Asia Pacific, says Kiwi retailers would do well to accept that omnichannel isn’t going away. She believes the prevailing attitude is one of avoidance: “Let’s just sit and wait what happens to it, it might just disappear.”
Da Silva points out that global retailers are now landing on Kiwi shores and achieving success with omnichannel strategies.
New Zealanders are doing quite well online, she says, but don’t seem to prioritise linking online stores with bricks and mortar inventory systems. This kind of linkage means customers can look online to see whether an item is in stock at a particular store before going there, among other benefits.
According to the CitiXsys report, 71 percent of New Zealanders included in the survey like to research a product online once or more before visiting a store to buy. Eighty five percent of those surveyed have shopped online, while 59 percent of the Kiwi cohort find online shopping a smooth experience.
Of those who have shopped online, 31 percent told CitiXsys that there was room for improvement. Roughly the same percentage, 36 percent, felt the same about in-store shopping. Luckily, more half of New Zealanders surveyed – 59 percent – liked being able to shop with the same retailer in different ways.
The report also looked at Kiwi shopper behaviour on their mobiles. Around 40 percent of Kiwi respondents aged 18-34 told CitiXsys they preferred to look up information themselves while shopping in store rather than asking staff for help.
More than half of this age group also felt stores sometimes felt inconvenient compared to online shopping.
Asked for her recommendations for retailers alarmed by the report, Da Silva says retailers should move to establish a single view of inventory linking online and instore, then move to focus on loyalty across all channels.
“Stop thinking in silos,” Da Silva says. “If you’re going to offer a promotion online, then offer it instore as well.”
She says often, customers feel like “a friend” online because the website captures their data and is responsive to their behaviour, only to become alienated when the same level of personalization is not replicated in a bricks and mortar store.
“At the end of the day, omnichannel is just great customer service,” Da Silva says.