Fashion retailers continue to struggle with omnichannel

27 August 2015 3 min. read
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TopShop, Wallis and Miss Selfridge are, according to consultancy Kurt Salmon, the best performing fashion retailers when it comes to omnichannel. Across the industry, fashion retailers still struggle to adapt to the growingly important blended online-offline landscape, running the risk that they miss out on potential sales.

Every year, Kurt Salmon, a management consultancy that specialises in retail and consumer products, conducts research into the state of the (European) retail market. As part of its research series it also looks into omnichannel performance, with this year’s edition assessing the omnichannel maturity of more than 100 fashion businesses in the UK, France and Germany. Maturity was defined based on performance across four dimensions - online, mobile, social and cross-channel.

Brits lead the way
The results of the study reveal that when it comes to omnichannel, the British outperform their German and French counterparts. Yet while the UK can dub itself the best overall performer – mainly driven by online and mobile activity – it still lags behind France and Germany in the area of online visibility of store stock. Less than 30% of UK businesses are able to provide stock-checking functionality from their e-commerce sites. “Shoppers want near instant gratification. Retailers could achieve this if they provided a single view of their stock and were able to advise a customer about whether it’s worth venturing in store to try and buy a garment,” comments Sarah Davis, head of Kurt Salmon’s UK digital practice.

Kurt Salmon - Omnichannel

Another area where the UK under-performs is with the delivery of omnichannel loyalty programmes. Just over a third of the retailers surveyed were able to support the same loyalty scheme across multiple channels, a finding that is in synch with a recent, albeit broader, study by Capgemini Consulting. According to Capgemini’s data, retailers have failed to grow their customer loyalty programmes with the times, and as a result nearly 90% of consumers have a negative sentiment toward customer loyalty programmes.

Despite the growing importance of merging e-commerce with the traditional bricks-and-mortar space, fashions retailers still struggle with implementation. “Cross-channel execution is still presenting the greatest challenge in all markets. Retailers are not sufficiently integrating their bricks-and-mortar assets into the omnichannel shopping journey,” says Davis. A missed opportunity she highlights, adding that this is “increasingly leaving consumers struggling to get hold of the products and shopping experiences they want”, resulting in lost sales.


Consistency between e-commerce and in-store displays, imagery, promotions and services is proving the hardest to achieve. Only five of the UK retailers successfully communicated the order, delivery and collections services they offered within their stores and only 13 equipped their sales staff with the tools needed to provide a personalised, seamless omnichannel customer engagement.

From a company perspective, TopShop, Wallis and Miss Selfridge perform the best of all investigated fashion retailers, yet as with last year’s results, no one organisation excelled in all areas. The UK had two top performers: Jack Wills (online) and Selfridges (social), while Germany’s Marc O’Polo achieved top score for mobile and France’s Etam for cross channel.

Research conducted by Kurt Salmon in December last year showed that only 5% of UK retailers are onmi-channel proof.