[Retail TouchPoints] How COVID-19 is Reshaping Omnichannel Operations

At the beginning of 2020, the term “omnichannel” was already becoming a bit, well, tired. Virtually all retailers aspired to provide a coordinated, customer-centric experience no matter how many channels a consumer used — even i their aspirations didn’t always match their achievements. The savviest omnichannel retailers, however, were able to exploit the specific capabilities of each touch point to enhance the shopper journey.

Needless to say, COVID-19 shifted both retailers’ capabilities and their omnichannel priorities. Store closures and stay-at-home orders redirected traffic into online channels, forcing retailers to quickly ramp up BOPIS and curbside operations as they adjusted store operations to deal with the pandemic.

The ninth annual Retail TouchPoints Omnichannel Benchmark Report presents a snapshot of an industry grappling with change at an unprecedented scale and scope. It’s also a portrait of retailers’ agility and flexibility in responding to the crisis.

As might be expected given the scale of store closures, only 24% of retailers reported revenue increases of up to 20% in the brick-and-mortar channel, with just 9% climbing higher than 20%. Revenues decreased or were flat for just over half of stores. In contrast, online sales via social commerce, websites, mobile apps and ecommerce marketplaces all showed healthy revenue increases.