SOURCE: EKN Research

EKN Research

November 20, 2013 14:14 ET

Systems Integration Is #1 Technology Challenge in Omni-Channel Merchandising, According to New Research Study From EKN

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Nov 20, 2013) - Delivering a seamless customer experience across channels is a key focus for retailers today -- yet retailers lack the technology integration and business processes that are needed for customer-centric, omni-channel retailing, according to a new research report from EKN.

The report, State of the Industry Research Series: Omni-channel Merchandising, provides a benchmark of retailers' maturity in omni-channel merchandising. It focuses on the disparity between the promise and the reality of omni-channel merchandising and identifies clear room for improvement. For example, 72% of respondents rate integration of systems across channels as their #1 technology challenge in omni-channel merchandising, and 1 in 3 retailers still use a home-grown system as their core merchandising platform.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • Lack of business processes and technology integration across channels are big stumbling blocks. 1 in 3 retailers report minimal or no integration of merchandising business processes and technology systems across channels. Promotions, assortments, demand forecasting and customer insights emerge as the areas of highest expected impact from integration and are the areas most in need of improvement.
  • Retailers are prepared to make hard organizational structure and process changes: Retailers recognize the need to move away from channel or category-centric merchandising plans. 1 in 2 plan to create integrated merchandising teams and unified merchandising plans over the next 2 years.
  • Retailers are spending more in integration as well as new system development. Compared to other business functions retailers, retailers are spending a greater percentage of their total functional IT spend in merchandising on integration, enhancements, and developing and implementing new IT solutions. EKN expects that retailers will focus for the next two years on niche vertical solutions that utilize advanced algorithms and analytics to solve specific business challenges.

"When it comes to omni-channel merchandising, there's a wide gap between what consumers expect and what most retailers can currently deliver," said Gaurav Pant, Research Director for EKN. "As retailers look to evolve their merchandising function to be more customer-centric, collaborative, and insights-driven, they will need to chart a clear strategy encompassing organizational change and technology enablement." 

State of the Industry Research Series: Omni-channel Merchandising provides strategic recommendations to help retailers develop a roadmap to omni-channel excellence, and the report also identifies a "Retail Honor Board" of best-in-class retailers for core merchandising functions. The report is sponsored by SAP and is available for download here

To learn more about how to participate in future EKN surveys or gain access to the EKN portal, please contact David Weinand at

About EKN
EKN ( is a research and content service that was built based on feedback and advice from retail executives. Part of the Edgell Communications family, EKN is a subscription-based portal that provides retailers with access to the site's powerful decision-support and data analysis tools, allowing them to leverage EKN's industry-leading database of original research, user-generated vendor indexes and market trends. EKN also lets members share insights and real-world experiences through ongoing peer forums, both virtual and in person.

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