Decathlon leads the way with omnichannel and digital store capabilities in Singapore

Sporting goods giant Decathlon has the best omnichannel retail and digital store capabilities in Singapore, according to Forrester.

This is after the French retailer equipped its stores with automated inventory management tools like RFID tags and a dedicated service counter to deliver efficient in-store pickup.

It also provides cross-store inventory visibility for associates and customers and its option for customers to self-checkout with in-aisle kiosks.

This is according to a study by Forrester, which surveyed six multichannel retailers that operate both omnichannel stores and provide “buy online, pick up in-store” services in Singapore like Decathlon, Charles & Keith, Harvey Norman, Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo, and Watsons.

Harvey Norman, which allows customers to filter and see what is in stock and in which store and follows up with fast, streamlined in-store pick up, and Uniqlo, which uses location-based technology to engage customers in-store, had the second-highest scores after Decathlon in the omnichannel retail and digital store capabilities assessments respectively.

The retailers’ omnichannel retail capabilities were scored on a four-point scale spanning four key categories of online experience, channel consistency, in-store pickup, and in-store experience.

For omnichannel retail capabilities, the study found that the six retailers differentiate themselves most from the competition with high performance in three omnichannel capabilities like fast, convenient in-store pickup; consistent loyalty programs and promotions; and visibility into enterprise inventory.

The study also found that the six retailers eliminated the separation between channels to realise omnichannel retail by adopting in-store fulfillment to improve speed and cut costs; implement “buy anywhere, return anywhere” to upgrade shopping experiences; and make pre- and post-purchase experiences consistent.

For digital store capabilities, the retailers were scored on a four-point scale spanning four key categories of associate digital tools, customer digital tools, digital engagement screens, and location engagement.

Retailers in Singapore performed better in digital tools for associates and customers than digital engagement screens and location engagement, which meant that Singapore retailers’ digital store capabilities are still nascent.

The study found that digital engagement screens and location engagement, in particular, have a long way to go as the digital signage adopted by retailers mainly contains static ads, which lack interactivity or contextual content for customers.

In addition, retailers have also yet to create real-time, contextual, and interactive experiences.

The study recommended that for retailers to enhance shopping experiences, they need to provide value-added services that go beyond improving shopping efficiencies, such as rich product content access, to better serve customers.

This is because in-store digital technologies that focus on encouraging customer engagement are the key to differentiation.

Read the full study here.