According to a new report from the IVIS Group the top 50 UK retailers are failing to capitalise on technology and are offering consumers a service that just isn't joined up.

Multi-channel is the big buzzword of the moment but the report shows the top retailers aren't quite grasping the meaning of multi-channel. Just 44 percent of the top 50 retailers in the UK, by revenue, allow customers to order products online and collect them at the nearest store, despite multi-channel shopping becoming an increasingly popular purchase method.

Paul Bolton, Director of Product and Corporate Strategy at IVIS Group explains, "In-store and online crossover is a growing trend, but the number of retailers offering this service is low - even when taking into account that certain product types may not suit the click-and-collect model," said

"Retailers need to start thinking like shoppers. Running a unified operation means the customer gets the best experience." Paul Bolton, Director of Product and Corporate Strategy at IVIS Group

Nearly two thirds offered mobile

When IVIS looked at the degree to which retailers had picked up on mobile the figures were better. Fifty four percent of retailers do have a mobile app, and just slightly less than two thirds (62 %) of retailers had already optimised their websites for mobile.

Of those with a mobile optimised site or app, 84% have a store locator on the home page. Over half (55%) don't allow customers to check in-store stock availability before going shopping.

Text and email notifications lacking

The research also found many retailers were also missing out on some basic IT integration and online data. Over half (58%) of the retailers were not taking advantage of technology to keep customers informed with email and text notifications for items ready to collect in-store, and instead relied on call centres or in-store staff.

Additionally a fifth of the UK's top retailers provide little or no product information to online shoppers. 16% of retailers do not provide exact product dimensions, clothing sizes and materials, while 4% give patchy information across their product ranges.

Summing up Bolton says the secret to success is, "Retailers need to start thinking like shoppers. Running a unified operation means the customer gets the best experience."

For more information on what retailers can learn from the successes and failures of the top 50 retailers, download the free IVIS Group report, "Customer first, channels second."