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🎧“The Brilliant Basics” Episode 2: Interview with Kathy Kimple


Every year, the National Retail Federation and FitForCommerce publish the world’s largest study to assess the implementation and success of omnichannel marketing investments. From individual brands to larger retailers, online sellers are starting to adopt a multiple-channel approach to improve their annual growth. This year’s 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index has shown a significant increase in usage by a number of eCommerce brands across the globe. 


The newly-published study has finally shed some light on a few key questions that our omnichannel marketing experts at Bobsled have been asking. Our inquiries were answered by none other than Kathy Kimple, Chief Retail Officer of specialty eCommerce consultancy FitForCommerce. As one of the co-authors of the 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index, Kimple highlights the biggest lessons for Amazon brands to learn before heading into the new year.

Recently, Bobsled’s Founder and CEO, Kiri Masters, sat down to have a chat with Kathy Kimple about the most important omnichannel strategies to master this year. Read below for a summary of this episode of the Ecommerce Braintrust.

fitforcommerce omnichannel retail index (Source: FitForCommerce. Preview of findings from 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index.)


A Deeper Look: The 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index Study

What exactly is the 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index Study, and why does Bobsled recommend that brands get familiar with the study’s new findings when creating growth on Amazon? 

The study was originally designed “to take a pulse on how retailers were delivering on the omnichannel promise”. 

A few prominent partners in the eCommerce marketing industry, including NRF and FitForCommerce, started putting together a large study to track multi-channel marketing trends and call out opportunities that brands may be missing within their digital channel experience. The first Omnichannel Retail Index was published in 2015, and it has since become lauded as a critical publication to follow when preparing to move into a new year. 


What Does the Omnichannel Retail Index Track? 

Each year, the Omnichannel Retail Index will track the same number of features, functions, channels, and retailers to determine what’s working and what’s not. It’s important to keep an eye on the trends that are gaining traction and whether or not different retailers are performing better when engaging in best omnichannel practices. 


fitforcommerce omnichannel retail index 2

(Source: FitForCommerce)

The credibility of this published research is further quantified by the fact that there are almost 150 brands and leading retailers that take part in the study each year. They are divided into 13 different subcategories, including beauty, home improvement, hardware, toys, and more. The study seeks to identify different features used by each retailer, which are then labeled as table stakes or best practices and recommended to other brands. 


What’s New in 2021? 

Over the past few years, there has been significant movement in the world of features and functions. As an example, the adoption rate of mobile features and mobile marketing inclusion skyrocketed up to 57% last year. This year, it shot up to 71%; likewise, the adoption rate of storefront features improved from 59% to 75% year over year. There is no doubt that COVID-19 played a part in the increased popularity of digital marketing features. 

The pandemic showed many shifts in sellers’ attitudes towards an omnichannel marketing approach. The burst of new innovations due to COVID-19 are some of the top talking points of the entire Omnichannel Retail Index. Features like curbside pickups and BOPIS (Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store) are brand new on the scene while existing features like shop reviews and customer ratings have suddenly become more important telling signs of brand success.


💡 Learn omnichannel marketing by example - Take a look at Best Amazon Brand Stores: Tips, Mistakes, and Examples!


Top 3 Improvement Tips for Brands Operating DTC Websites in 2022

Kathy Kimple offered some powerful parting advice for brands that truly sums up the important discoveries published in the 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index. As a direct-to-consumer brand operating on Amazon and other large eCommerce platforms, finding the best omnichannel strategies is crucial for new growth in 2022. Here are the top 3 ways you can improve your multi-channel marketing vehicle for continued retail success.

1. Optimize Search and Navigation

One of the most important things you can do for your brand moving forward is to optimize your search and navigation options right away. The right fix can result in conversion rates up to three times higher than your current rate. Many retailers are staying on track by prioritizing search options, as 97% of retailers auto-suggest terms to their customers. However, only 33% of those brands will remember a customer’s previously-searched terms. Optimizing these features can make huge waves in customer retention.

2. Elevate Customer Service

Reduce cart abandonment by offering quick help options and in-cart services during the checkout process. Currently, 88% of big brands have a live chat service on their DTC site, but only 43% of those brands offer live chat during the cart and checkout process. Many retailers are aware that SMS text messaging remains one of the most popular methods of communication among customers, yet only 27% of brands offer customer service options through SMS text.

3. Leverage Conversion Boosters

There is a myriad of ways to capture more conversions at the last minute. 42% of retailers will use threshold messaging, which alerts customers that they can qualify for a discount (such as free shipping) if they spend a few dollars more. A more popular way to boost conversion rates is to offer plenty of customer reviews. 89% of brands already have reviews on their website, while almost 40% of them offer Q&A asked and answered by real users. To ignore the ease of conversion booster implementation would be to waste a seamless opportunity for integrated omnichannel growth.

💡 Pro Tip
As a brand’s sales and marketing leader, you should always be keeping an eye on how your retail partners are performing in the same areas you are looking to improve on your own channels. A lot of retailers have implemented similar features such as basic search functionality; how can your features be better? Enhancing existing components of your platform can improve conversions and boost your sales. It’s all about having the right content and making it as accessible to your customers as possible.


Improve Your eCommerce Success Through Omnichannel Sales

Need help securing the best omnichannel strategy for online marketing success? Bobsled’s expert marketing team can support your brand’s growth! Schedule a free consultation with us today to start expanding your opportunities.

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'The Brilliant Basics' - Lessons from the 2021 Omnichannel Retail Index - Episode 2: Interview with Kathy Kimple


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Strategic resource for C-level marketing & retail executives of brands selling on Instacart.

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