A ranking of the top 100 retailers on their omnichannel capabilities

In its fifth edition ranking the top 100 retailers and brands based on their omnichannel capabilities – i.e. the programs offered and the execution of these programs – Total Retail, in collaboration with Orckestra, mdf commerce’s enterprise platform, providing retailers with a unique, scalable and user-friendly headless commerce engine to drive unified commerce experiences online and in-store, reveals industry leaders at the forefront of delivering frictionless multi-channel shopping experiences.

Empowering consumers with rapidly changing buying behaviors, including greater reliance on digital touchpoints throughout the buying journey, having a strong omnichannel strategy that can serve customers in multiple ways has become more critical than never. This includes every step of the buying journey, from discovery to post-purchase support. Consumers expect retailers to know about them and be able to serve them across channels.

As part of the 2021 assessment, which was conducted in September and October, we visited each of the 100 retailer websites as well as one of its brick-and-mortar stores, judging businesses on the following eight omnichannel criteria:

  1. the possibility for customers to buy online, to collect in store (BOPIS) and / or at the curb;
  2. the ability to search for in-store products on a brand’s digital properties (desktop site, mobile site, mobile app), including inventory availability data;
  3. shopping cart shared between channels for connected shoppers (for example, from mobile to office);
  4. the possibility of earning and redeeming loyalty points on all channels;
  5. cross-channel product returns (for example, buy online, return to store or BORIS);
  6. ship from store / endless aisle;
  7. price consistency between channels; and
  8. mobile payments accepted in store, including storage of payment data in the app or mobile site

This year’s evaluation did not see any of the 100 retailers earn all of the available points. However, there were several good results, highlighted by the highest ranked company on the list, Torrid. The plus size women’s fashion retailer scored 10.25 of the 11 available points in total. Bass Pro Shops, Lane Bryant and Zumiez tied for second place, earning 10 points each. Ace Hardware and Sportsman’s Warehouse round out the top of the table, each with 9.75 points.

When analyzing the scores by product category, the top performers were department stores, with an average score of 8.83 for brands in the category. At the bottom of the category rankings was footwear, with an average score of 8.0 for brands in that group.

BOPIS / Curbside, cross-channel returns increase in adoption

In addition to ranking the omnichannel skills of individual retailers, the 2021 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report revealed some industry trends, including the following:

  • Seventy-seven percent of Retailer Loyalty Program members can earn and redeem points / rewards across multiple transaction channels, although some exceptions exist with several of the retailers rated.
  • Ninety-eight of the 100 retailers surveyed offer at least some form of online shopping, in-store pickup (BOPIS), and / or curbside pickup. However, it is important to note that only five retailers received full credit for this criterion, indicating that there is room for improvement with these still nascent services. While these services were quickly adopted by consumers and retailers during the pandemic, especially curbside pickup, expect this behavior to remain post-pandemic. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on convenience, and the growth of BOPIS and curbside pickup is a prime example.
  • All but one of the 100 evaluated retailers allow customers to return purchases through channels. In fact, 54 percent of traders got full credit for this category of criteria. With more online shopping than ever before, it’s no surprise that return rates for many product categories (e.g. clothing, shoes) are at record highs. Recognizing this dynamic, retailers are investing resources to enable frictionless multi-channel product returns.

The 2021 Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers Report is a resource for retailers to measure themselves against their competitors as well as major industry organizations. It should also serve as a prompt to self-audit your company’s omnichannel capabilities, identifying strengths – which can be leveraged as differentiators – as well as weaknesses. As consumer behaviors change and purchase journeys cross multiple channels, it is retailers with a strong omnichannel infrastructure, including technology systems and solutions, that will retain customers.

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