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CRM trends: UK retailers score top marks for omnichannel communication – but must try harder on the

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

The UK leads the way in omnichannel marketing, with UK retailers scoring 31% against key success metrics compared to the global benchmark of just 18%, according to new research.

CRM trends: UK retailers score top marks for omnichannel communication – but must try harder on the basics

The study, from omnichannel marketing automation platform dotdigital, found that despite these advances, retailers and brands are still missing out on opportunities to optimise their ecommerce operations, meaning they could be missing out on revenue.

While UK brands, Matches Fashion, Boohoo, Gymshark and Holland & Barrett, make up four of the top five ranking global omnichannel marketers, the report shows:

• Only 40% of UK ecommerce businesses send abandoned cart notifications • Just 37% of brands have clear data consent criteria • In spite of the high rates of mobile commerce in the UK, 60% of retailers don’t use SMS to communicate with customers

Original research in the Hitting the Mark report, which benchmarks the digital marketing tactics adopted by 100 ecommerce brands around the world, shows that while UK brands are making headway tapping into customers’ demands for easily accessible communication, they are missing the mark when it comes to the basics.

This, the report suggests, means retailers could be missing out on sales at a time when demand for ecommerce is soaring; the disruption caused by Covid-19 has accelerated the uptake of ecommerce globally, with ecommerce sales predicted to increase by up to 40% across all retail in the UK in 2020.1

Customer data is the oil that fuels excellent customer experience (CX) online, with demand for personalisation in digital shopping journeys rising 123% in the last 6 months.2 However, more than two years on from the introduction of GDPR regulations, only 37% of UK brands had clear consent criteria – running the risk of encountering serious legal issues.

Overcoming cart abandonment

With cart abandonment rates averaging 70%3 across the ecommerce industry, inspiring shoppers to follow through with their purchases is more challenging than ever. Despite this, only 40% of UK brands surveyed sent an abandoned cart email even though this key revenue generating automation should be a central part of every brand’s strategy. The UK figure is 20% lower than ecommerce businesses in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, who sent the most cart recovery emails globally., which was ranked the top brand globally in the report, set the bar for abandoned cart communication sending a personalised, concise cart recovery email within 30 minutes of the purchase being paused. is also commended for its efforts in utilising abandoned cart emails as a selling opportunity and giving shoppers a reason to return.

Whilst the UK lockdown has seen a shift back to desktop sales, it is predicted in the long-term that mobile traffic and transactions in the UK will continue to grow at a rate of 16% annually and will eventually overtake desktop sales by 20234. Set to capitalise on this shift, UK retailers topped the poll when it came to communicating with customers via SMS, with 40% of UK retailers utilising this channel to communicate with shoppers on the go.

Yet, in spite of the high uptake in m-commerce, UK retailers are still not utilising the full potential of this channel with 95% of messages being transactional and just one brand sending a promotional SMS message. Younger brands targeting the millennial generation, who demand brands be available on the channels they want, are leading the SMS charge. The report highlights both Gymshark and as clear winners in this category, both having experienced unprecedented growth because they’re successfully meeting these demands.

Mark Jervis, Marketing Director, at dotdigital commented: “It’s great to see iconic British retailers leading the way in improving customer experience. However, UK brands aren’t committing wholeheartedly to a customer-centric strategy. The ultimate customer experience – the one that delights shoppers and drives sales – is created when brands combine customer data with omnichannel journeys and user experiences.”

“UK brands are working hard to gain customer confidence and acquire data, but they’re stumbling at the final hurdle. Data drives relevancy which improves experience and keeps shoppers engaged and UK retailers are still missing out a large chunk of revenue potential in the market and, as a result, customer loyalty remains fickle,” Jervis concluded.

For more actionable insights on the strategies ecommerce professionals and marketers are utilising globally, and what this means for retailers and business leaders looking to build these capabilities in to their operations, download the full report: Hitting the Mark, Global Ecommerce Benchmark Report 2020

Report Methodology

dotdigital’s Hitting the Mark benchmarking report looks at the tactics ecommerce brands should be adopting to overcome key marketing challenges. Spanning across three continents and 12 countries, it scored 100 brands against criteria ranging from email best practice to omnichannel adoption and user experience. Every brand was randomly selected and objectively scored depending on their adoption of these tactics.


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