Most retailers lack a single view of their customers across all their sales channels, according to a survey of 40 large UK high-street chains.
The research, conducted by Martec International on behalf of retail IT consultancy Charteris, found that 92% of retailers did not have a single view of their customers across all their sales channels.
Martin Chitty, head of retail at Charteris, said, "Although multi-channel retailing is becoming big business, for the average retailer the levels of sophistication and integration are not as high as we are often led to believe.
"Most retailers appear to be operating separate processes for stores and other sales channels."
Some 28% of retailers confirmed that they had more than one view of customers' data, and 8% said they had separate customer views by sales channel.
Retailers' customer relationship management systems were seen as preventing them from creating a single customer view across different channels.
IT managers at the companies surveyed said they were less satisfied with their CRM systems than they were with their supply chain and buying systems.
Argos was believed by those surveyed to have implemented its multi-channel sales strategy better than any other retailer. Twenty per cent said they admired Argos, compared with 18% who named Tesco.
Harrods fine-tunes customer focus
Harrods will this month gain a single view of its customers for the first time. The department store is using Sun Java Integration Suite to integrate with a new SAP enterprise resource planning system.
Harrods' IT department recently completed the migration of the retailer's legacy applications to the SAP system.
Harrods' IT director David Llamas said the single customer view would cause the total cost of ownership of its IT systems to fall.