Most retailers feel they are not very effective at capturing in-store customer preference data, according to a study from cloud-based omni-channel commerce platform provider Kibo and the Future Stores conference. This article is copyright 2017 The Best Customer Guide.

The study entitled' Technologies That Are Changing How We Think of Brick & Mortar' was conducted to take the pulse of where retailers are in their omni-channel journey, and research how in-store testing of technologies and strategies are making their mark on the future of brick and mortar.

Some of the key findings and trends in the study include:

  • 64% of retailers feel they are only somewhat effective at capturing in-store data on customer preferences.
  • Less than half of respondents, 42%, have in-store technologies to view customer information across all of their touchpoints, including in-store as well as their digital touchpoints.
  • Personalization stands out as a major initiative, with 52% of retailer responses indicating they are planning to invest in it within the next 12 months or are already implementing this strategy.
  • Nearly a quarter of retailers (22%) have not yet begun to personalize or aren't sure if they even have that capability.
  • 41% of retailers utilize mobile point of sale devices.
  • 76% have used displays or kiosks.

Some 41% of retailers said they lacked trust in their inventory accuracy or don't have visibility, and only 17% have full enterprise-wide inventory visibility. Reasons for not offering a fulfillment choice varied:

  • "My organization is not ready to implement" was cited as the leading reason for not offering Save the Sale (44%) and In-Store Pickup (41%).
  • "My technology won't support it" was cited as the leading reason for not offering Ship-From-Store (42%).

The role of the physical store is evolving, turning a brick and mortar location into a showroom, storefront and a fulfillment hub, all in one location. The study shows there is new emphasis on creating an omnichannel brand experience, and providing convenience to customers with the option to buy online and pick up in-store, or return a digital purchase to the store. Retailers are testing new programs and strategies that connect customer data to inventories in pursuit of stronger personalization and more diverse and accurate fulfillment programs.

"It's clear that retailers are still working through many technology and organizational challenges to address major omnichannel initiatives," said Tushar Patel, CMO, Kibo. "Inventory visibility, personalization, cross-channel customer data and exploiting in-store mobile technologies are the key pillars in providing connected customer experiences in the store. Retailers that enable themselves with the right technology and strategies in place can transform their brick and mortar stores into major brand assets in a time of digital ascendancy."