You know my views on omnichannel – it’s still critical for companies who want to succeed in 2016. But there are many different aspects to omnichannel. There is of course multichannel communication, the data analysis required to monitor online discussion, and the way that the supply chain is improved to cope with this new environment blending offline with online.  It’s a single word and a simple concept, but the reality of delivering on the omnichannel promise is much harder than most executives realise.

I was thinking of this when I saw the results of a new survey of 1,000 consumers and their experiences of online retail in Apparel magazine.  45% said that orders arrived later than expected, 25% said that orders were regularly damaged, 23% said that they received the wrong items. Across all the consumers surveyed, 25% said that they had a serious problem with online orders and what is extremely worrying for the retailers is that 35% of consumers said that that these problems would lead them to reject the retailer for future purchases.

Here is the problem, retailers know that they should be delivering a seamless omnichannel experience where the customer experience is always the same no matter how the purchase is made, but most of them are failing to achieve this at present.

If a third of customers are prepared to boycott or ignore brands that can’t get their order right then there is a serious imperative here for leaders to get it right.

The Apparel article offers some valuable insight into avoiding some of the perils that ruin the shopping experience and make it impossible to deliver any omnichannel experience.  I won’t repeat their advice, you can read the article here, but what I would add as possibly the most critical point of all is that omnichannel is nothing new. Many of us in the industry can point to great case studies, we have the knowledge to make it work.

I believe this is why customers are prepared to boycott brands so easily. They know that this is not rocket science and they expect retailers to deliver the correct items. Patience and forgiveness are hard to come by when the public knows that you should be capable of delivering what was asked for.