European and North American retailers could be losing out on conversions due to a lack of personalisation and unconnected customer experiences in-store, a new report from iVend Retail, a leading global retail solution brand, warns.

The report – ‘Europe and North America: A study in omnichannel contrasts’ – reveals that, despite retailers’ efforts to integrate the omni-channel experience, bricks-and-mortar stores are disappointing their customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

While 60% of consumers (50% in Europe and 70% North America) agreed that shopping online was more convenient than in-store, a quarter of those polled said that that bricks-and-mortar stores felt like a ‘let down’ after transacting online.

This, the report suggests, is because the data retailers can gather around individual shoppers’ behaviours online – from frequency of purchase to purchase history and buying preferences – which allows them to deliver the personalised engagement shoppers have come to expect, disappears when the same customer enters a physical store.

While retailers are deploying tactics to bridge the digital divide, such as click and collect, which is used by 79% of UK and 60% of US consumers, customers want retailers to do more to connect their online and offline shopping habits, iVend Retail found. Fifty two per cent of UK consumers and 66% North American shoppers would like retailers to have a ‘single view’ of them, in order to personalise in-store experiences but also to make their buying journeys seamless across shopping channels.

To put the store back at the heart of their omni-channel strategies, retailers should digitalise their bricks-and-mortar outlets, using customer data and a single view of stock to deliver more tailored and connected interactions, iVend Retail said. By equipping store associates with digitally enabled devices that are linked to back-end systems, they can bring the online experience to customers at the shelf edge, keeping the customer on the path to purchase.

“Our research shows consumers don’t shop in silos,” said Richard Kolodynski, senior vice president of European operations for iVend Retail (part of CitiXsys worldwide). “As the divide between digital and physical shopping continues to blur, consumers no longer differentiate between channels, so retailers on both sides of ‘the pond’ must focus on delivering seamless customer experiences.

“By using technology to enable bricks-and-mortar stores to behave in the same informed, flexible manner as online shopping, retailers can improve omni-channel conversions,” he said.

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