Boosting efforts to personalize interactions across channels and prioritizing cross-channel information consistency - these are two key strategies that most leading retailers are embracing to enrich their omni-channel customer engagement initiatives, according to a new survey from retail technology provider Aptos Inc. This article is copyright 2017 The Best Customer Guide.

Findings from the "Omni-Channel Engagement Strategies of Retail Leaders" survey were revealed during Shoptalk, a retail and eCommerce event of which Aptos was a sponsor. The survey of 100 retail marketing and eCommerce executives attempts to benchmark marketing and order management strategies to identify best practices that the leaders have in common.

Consistent with growth in smartphone and social media usage, leading retailers are leveraging mobile (83%) and social (89%) channels to engage with customers. Some 70% of leaders serve up personalized content and offers based on purchase history, and 58% personalize content and offers based on browsing behaviors.

To address consumer demands and expectations for order fulfillment in a buy-anywhere, fulfill-anywhere world, retailers leading in customer engagement have flexible order management and supply chain capabilities that revolve around serving the customer:

  • Sixty-seven percent have established a near-real-time view of inventory across the enterprise.
  • Over half (53%) have the ability to drop-ship orders from vendors directly to consumers.
  • Forty-two percent have implemented product-based rules for order brokering and fulfillment, while 29% have implemented customer history and status-based rules for order brokering and fulfillment (e.g., free two-day shipping for top-tier loyalty members).

Moreover, leaders continue to prioritize improving the consistency of cross-channel information (4.3 out of 5) and most are seeking even deeper personalization of interactions across channels (4.2 out of 5) - efforts that will continue to foster improved customer engagement.

"In the retail environment today, all-encompassing omni-channel customer engagement strategies are absolutely critical," said Dave Bruno, marketing director, Aptos. "Our goal in conducting this research was to understand what separates leaders from laggards and identify best practices in this area. The survey findings make it abundantly clear: Leaders are committed to leveraging technology to drive engagement strategies and to power personalized content along with the agility to support seamless omni-channel experiences."

Aptos commissioned Gatepoint Research to conduct an online survey of 100 marketing and eCommerce executives from Q3 to Q4 2016. Respondents were senior decision-makers of retailers ranging from Fortune 1000 enterprises to SMB retailers with less than $250 million in revenues.