Organizational, operational and technology challenges are hampering retailers’ efforts to meet customers’ demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touch points, according to a new research study from Accenture (NYSE:ACN) and hybris software, an SAP company and the world’s fastest-growing commerce platform provider. Retailers view omni-channel maturity as a key brand differentiator for their companies, and improving their ability to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience across all channels, as a top priority, according to the study, “Customer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Commerce Gap,” conducted by Forrester Consulting. However, the study shows that nearly all – 94 percent – of retail decision makers surveyed as part of the research said that their companies face significant barriers to becoming an integrated omni-channel company. The study is based on an online survey commissioned by Accenture and hybris, and conducted by Forrester Consulting with more than 1,500 multi-channel shoppers and 256 decision makers from retail and manufacturing organizations across the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany. To view the research infographic, please click here. The survey also found that 71 percent of the shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online, and 50 percent expect to buy online and pick up their purchase in a physical store. Yet, only one third (36 percent) of the retail decision makers surveyed said that their companies are able to provide customers with in-store pickup of online purchases, online visibility of cross-channel inventory and store-based fulfilment of online orders. All of these capabilities are considered vital for seamless retailing. “Thirty nine percent of customers surveyed say they are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if its website does not provide physical store inventory information,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail Practice. “Additionally, the research also shows that retailers who struggle to implement robust seamless capabilities online also experience challenges meeting customer expectations in offline channels. So this is a particularly big challenge that requires immediate attention.” ”Increasing adoption of eCommerce and mobile technology by consumers underscores how important it is for retailers to introduce digital commerce into every aspect of their business to keep up with – and hopefully, outpace - their competitors,” concluded Donnelly.