New RSR Research Findings: Retailers Don’t Know If Cross-Channel Orders Are Profitable

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The volume of cross-channel orders and fulfillment has increased, but retailers’ ability to track the cost to fulfill is worse than ever.

They have no idea how much it’s actually costing them to fill these orders

Retail Systems Research, LLC today released its findings from its first benchmark into cross-channel orders and fulfillment, Profitable Customer Engagement: The Unmet Promise. The report, based on a survey of 100 retailers, found that while retailers are bringing in a lot of sales through cross-channel orders, they have no idea how much it is costing them to meet cross-channel demand.

The research is available for free download (registration required).

"Retailers are not keeping good track of the costs they incur while saving the sale from cross-channel demand,” says Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. “They say they’re making a lot of money, but what they really mean is they are capturing a lot of sales that might otherwise have been lost. In the meantime, they have no idea how much it’s actually costing them to fill these orders.”

Key Findings include:

  •     Retailers acknowledge they have some serious business challenges that make it difficult for them to track what is actually going on in the execution of their cross-channel strategies
  •     While retailers say there is more money to be made on the revenue side of cross-channel orders, they are more concerned about managing the cost side as order volumes grow
  •     Some retailers report that cross-channel fulfillment costs are a “cost of doing business” despite competitive pressure on their profitability from online pureplays.
  •     Retailers believe the way ahead lies through greater investment into inventory visibility, even before cost visibility.

Profitable Customer Engagement: The Unmet Promise contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding retailers’ cross-channel order and fulfillment strategies. It also offers baseline recommendations for navigating this brave new world for retailers. The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, is sponsored by Aptos, and can be downloaded here:

About RSR Research: Retail Systems Research (“RSR”) is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the extended retail industry, and thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large. To learn more about RSR, visit

RSR Research, LLC
Linda Wolfe, 774-284-4679

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