For middle-market retailers — those with sales of between $50 million and $500 million — omnichannel retailing is paying off big, according to the latest data from RSM U.S. LLP.
In a survey of retailers in the segment, RSM found that 97 percent of respondents said “omnichannel strategies are very to extremely important to their organization” and that those surveyed had “experienced a 36 percent increase in total sales volume in the past 12 months.”
By comparison, overall retail sales showed a gain of 3.6 percent during the same period, according to researchers at RSM.
John Nicolopoulos, a partner and national retail sector leader at RSM, told WWD the impetus for the research project was to clarify contradictory information in the market, which included e-commerce sales for 2016 that ranged from gains of 16 percent to 22 percent depending upon the source. Subsequently, RSM found that middle-market retailers who had a strong commitment to e-commerce experienced consistently robust online sales.
Nicolopoulos said it was due to a surprising factor: The RSM survey found that respondents “realized a 40-percent increase in new customers over the past year, suggesting that employing a multi-channel strategy allowed them to reach customers they didn’t previously attract.”
Nicolopoulos also said those surveyed expect to see overall sales at their companies rise 27 percent on average in the next 12 months. “Operating profile before interest and taxes was 40 percent (average) in the most recent fiscal year, and it is expected to increase by 26 percent (average) in the next 12 months,” RSM researchers said in the report.
Retailers making the investment in e-commerce show that it “is paying off. And if they are grabbing market share at this rate, it tells me there’s still plenty of opportunity here,” Nicolopoulos said. He said that much of the sales growth is due to the fact that these are “smaller, more nimble retailers” that have a strong commitment from the c-suite.
“They’re succeeding because they have the support of the top executives,” Nicolopoulos said, adding that other retailers can still catch up — but it will require some “soul-searching and looking from within.”
“Retailers need to truly understand the customer base they have today,” he said. “And then look at where they can grab new customers via mobile and online. And then they need to create a course of action that makes sense, which may vary by sector and by brand.”
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