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Retailers Look to Upgrade Cross-Channel Capabilities

Cross-channel and mobile services focus on customer convenience

Cross-channel integration is well underway among retailers and set to grow in the coming years, according to the “Store Systems Study” from RIS and IHL Group.

Checking other store inventory is currently the most widely available cross-channel system, followed by the next logical step—ordering items from another store.

More retailers said they allowed in-store returns than in-store pickup of online orders, likely because of the technical difficulties of in-store fulfillment. But by the end of 2010, about one-half of retailers expected to accommodate both transactions.

Several mobile shopping technologies will increase in availability over the next three years as well. Mobile couponing, product information and ordering will be the top initiatives in 2010. Mobile price comparison tools are less likely to be used or planned, probably because of the difficulty of dealing with customers finding items cheaper elsewhere and abandoning a possible purchase.

The study found that smaller retailers with annual revenues under $1 billion comprised 69% of the respondents planning to adopt mobile couponing and mobile ordering in the next year.

The top store system priority among retailers in 2010 is advanced loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM) programs, chosen by 60% of respondents. Despite widely planned improvements in integration of online and in-store shopping capabilities, just one-quarter selected cross-channel integration as a priority, putting it relatively far down retailers’ to-do lists.

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Check out today’s other article, “App Usage to Soar in 2010.”

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