Today, consumers’ expectations towards online platforms and seamless shopping experiences push companies to connect the digital and physical environments, trying to exploit all synergies. Even though hard to quantify, cross-channel effects are fundamental. Aiming at full integration, Fashion&Luxury brands should ensure the two worlds are as connected as possible.
ContactLab tried to assess digital and physical integration among 34 Fashion&Luxury players, by carrying out 61 store visits in New York, and measuring 21 parameters, divided into 3 areas: the basic: technology in-store; the developed: how digital clients are received and services in-store; the advanced: how digital is leveraged to make the most of traffic in-store.
The results unveiled unexploited potential.
On one hand, more brands have introduced services aiming at channel integration (e.g. Return/Collect in Store). For instance, in 2014 only 3 brands were offering the “Find in Store” option, today 4 more have added it. However, such services are often not fairly outlined in webpages, requiring customers some effort. Also, websites only explain online purchasing conditions, neglecting store policies.
On the other hand, in-store references to the online world are limited and adopted by just few players, mainly department stores (e.g. promotional stickers on Macy’s entrances). More worrisome, sales assistants are often unable to provide accurate information about cross-channel services: when asked whether it is possible to return an online purchase in-store, 7 players provided answers inconsistent with online information and 11 stressed the separation between the channels.
In conclusion, a strong effort towards integration on both the physical and digital side, coupled with appropriate sales assistants’ training, still represents an opportunity to overcome remaining barriers to e-commerce’s success, as well as to positively impact the bottom line.