The Great Retail Digital Divide

The traditional retail model is being disrupted as consumer expectations and shopping behavior rapidly evolve. A customer journey that remains in only one channel, whether online, mobile or in-store, is no longer the norm. Customers expect to move in and out of multiple channels, including in-store, online, mobile, and social media, and they expect a seamless and frictionless transition from one channel to another. This creates a new requirement for retailers to host a single shared shopping cart that moves with the customer.

Customer expectations are only going to continue to rise, fueled by the upsurge in mobile shopping over the past few years. This is driving demand for increased digital capabilities bundled with personalization in the store. Unfortunately, we are seeing that retailers are not always keeping up with customer expectations. This gap between consumer demand for digital capabilities within the store and most retailers’ current ability to support this is what we call the ‘great digital divide.’ Consumers say that digital influences up to 75% of pre-store visits and is leveraged in 46% of their in-store shopping experiences; however, less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire.[1]

To support this desired experience and increased capabilities, retailers need a robust order management solution that can serve as the anchor for the single shared shopping cart and operate as the brains of a unified commerce platform.

The success of a unified commerce solution requires a common commerce platform leveraged across all customer touchpoints. The centralized order management system is key, as this is the brains of the unified commerce platform.  It provides the needed customer order visibility, order orchestration and routing optimization across channels, allowing retailers to engage their customers however they choose, and meet and exceed customer expectations.

While there are many challenges to implementing an effective unified commerce solution, the cost of doing nothing is steadily increasing and may mean the difference between success and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the ‘great digital divide’ is likely to only increase as customer expectations grow.  Customers expect a single cart that crosses all touchpoints and using your OMS as the brains of the operation may be the most effective approach to meet these needs.

If you haven’t already moved to a unified commence platform, now is the time to act. We suggest you start by looking at a unified order management system. For more information on how to bridge the ‘great digital divide’ with an order management system, we recommend reading the BRP Special Report: OMS – The Brains of the Operation.

I appreciate your thoughts on this topic.  Please share your opinions and comments below.


[1]The Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectationsreport conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Wind, stream, 07/24/18,

Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent

FashionUnited – In a world where shopping experiences are influenced by digital in 75 percent of cases, digital already directly drives more than a third of all retail sales, and it further influences a much higher percentage, concludes a recent report by BRP & Windstream Enterprise.

‘Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations’ study reveals that within the apparel and shoes segment, digital sales make 29 percent of total sales, whereas 17 percent of store sales are attributed to digital.

A retailer with 1 billion dollars in annual revenue could potentially gain circa 260 million dollars by delivering a great in-store experience. Furthermore, reinventing the store to truly integrate digital and analogical can help retain consumers and grow their value by approximately 25 percent while acquiring new consumers from competitors.

Digital technology investment requires better alignment with consumers’ demands

However, digital in-store technology investment is misaligned as retailers’ investments haven’t kept pace with consumer expectations. Consumers value technologies that help them shop and pay at their pace, clearly favouring those retailers that give them the ability to control their checkout experience.

On a related note, while 71 percent of consumers rate highly the option of using self-checkout, just 42 percent of retailers are able to offer it. Being able to check out via mobile app is a priority for 50 percent of consumers, whereas just 42 percent of retailers actually offer this option.

Read Full Article: Optimizing in-store digital experience helps fashion retailers increase revenue 25 percent

Are you Offering Shoppers the Digital Experience they Expect?

New research identifies gaps between customer expectations and retail execution when it comes to digital experiences.

According to the Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv, there is a disconnect between customer expectations and retail execution. The research combines findings from surveys of 1,212 retail consumers and 60 retail executives to understand the effect digital has on the shopping experience.

“The digital divide in retail is growing, as over 75% of retail shopping traverses the digital realm, but less than half of retailers deliver on the most important digital capabilities that customers desire,” said Brian Brunk, principal, BRP. “Further, very few retailers offer the next generation digital technologies, like automated returns and proximity-triggered mobile coupons, that could significantly influence future purchase decisions. Retailers must transform and quickly close the digital gap to remain relevant with their customer.

Consumers are no longer confined to a linear buying journey and expect greater convenience and empowerment to shop the way they want and where they want. Digital sits at the core of that promise and it’s no surprise that most consumers research prices, reviews and product information before they set foot into a store and when they are in the store they perform these actions on their mobile devices.

“Mobile devices and the capabilities they enable are the primary catalyst for the continued evolution of the customer experience,” said Ryan Grogman, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP. “The majority of today’s consumers research products and brands digitally prior to visiting a physical store and, once they are in the store, about half of them use their mobile devices to perform price comparisons, read product reviews, and even validate inventory.”

Consumers are more likely to shop at retailers that align next-gen technologies to their digital preferences; however, in many cases, retailers don’t offer the capabilities that impact consumers’ shopping preferences.

Proximity-triggered Mobile Coupons – Consumers value digital discounts and promotions on their mobile devices. 

  • 65% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

Augmented Reality Experience – Many consumers appreciate the opportunity to see products in a virtual environment.

  • 48% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 15% of retailers offer this capability

Automated Returns Process – Consumers expect the returns process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 68% of customers would more likely shop at a retail brand that offered this capability
  • 8% of retailers offer this capability

I encourage you to download and read the complete Retail’s Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Shopper Expectations report:


As always, I appreciate your insights on this topic.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.