Retail businesses already had a hard time capitalizing on their sales profits by adapting to multichannel retailing. Eventually, retailers needed to deploy omni-channel experience to answer the shoppers’ quest for a consistent and integrated experience across e-commerce and in-store channels. Although retail professionals feel the shoppers are offered a personalized experience, none of the facets from either channel are unified to integrate things for the retailer. As a result, the siloed operations in retail continued to have a huge dent between e-commerce and in-store purchases.
28% retailers have adopted unified commerce by 2018 and according to a study by Boston Retail Partners, 81% plan to deploy it by the end of 2020.
So, what does it take for retailers to accommodate omnichannel retailing in a nutshell? The 21st century customers have been the X-factor behind the best products, innovative technologies, and the coolest merchandise retailers have ever introduced. From CRM to inventory management, regardless of the channel, most retailers have been operating their omnichannel platform with disconnected business applications. As these applications are custom integrated, point connections or not scalable to meet current demands of new channels, the retailers’ ability to offer a personalized, seamless customer experience across channels has been tunneled.
Omni-channel retail is layered
Omni-channel commerce has been a big step forward from multichannel retailing, evolving to meet rising customer demands for convenience, product selection, and the various options in place for customers ranging from in-store to m-commerce. Several pure-play online brands now also have recognized the significance of omnichannel by opening up physical stores and in-person service benefits.
As far as the customers are concerned, there is no such thing as channels and it’s the same retailer that handles all the channels. Customers want the retailers they shop with to recognize them as existing customers regardless of the channel they prefer to shop. With advent of social media, there has been an evolution of new channels/touchpoints, yet as said earlier, customer expectations don’t recognize them as different channels
So, how much do customer preferences decide the fate of a retailer? 63% customers expect to receive personalized offers and interactions from the stores they regularly shop.
A recent customer survey found that:
Simply put, an omnichannel strategy should cover the above mentioned customer expectations. The problem arises when a retailer uses legacy systems and multiple databases for multiple channels, resulting in gaps in customer recognition, personalization, and product information.
When a customer is unable to find consistent data across all the channels, the overall quality of a retailer is compromised. Moreover, customers come across irrelevant offers from their retailer and they are most likely to move on to other brands for a more unified experience.
Bridging the gap between Omnichannel and Unified Commerce
Eliminating the nuances in data across multiple channels in the omnichannel strategy is the main reason retailers are looking into unified commerce. The major goal of unified commerce is to give a single version of the truth to customers – real-time view of customer and product data, pricing, and availability.
Unified commerce powers the transformation of your omnichannel experience by evaluating landscape, check for fitments, scalability, purpose of applications, and works to create a centralized architecture. A single repository of data combines in-store, order fulfillment, inventory management, CRM, and other technologies. The platform goes beyond the walls of omnichannel retailing, prioritizing customer experience and bridging the gaps between internal channel silos. Unified Commerce offers a 360-degree view across all channels through a seamlessly integrated system, while raising the bars of customer demands and sales profits.
Unified Commerce is the heartbeat of future retail experience – Click here to Read Article
Adopting Unified Commerce
So what does it take for a retailer to adopt a unified commerce platform? Organizations must be ready to re-platform their legacy systems and databases because the alternative is losing out to competitors who are willing to switch. Consulting third party vendors for their new systems is the best choice for retailers who want a faster turnaround to implement at a lower cost of ownership.
Building an omnichannel sales workflow is one of the best ways to make a seamless transition to unified commerce. This means that retailers must accumulate and store all the data into an area where everyone in the organization can access it.
The types of data required to unify in the new workflow are:
- Real-time inventory levels
- Clear imaging of products in and out of packaging
- Accurate product dimensions
- Product manual and other information
- Related merchandise or products
When all the channels contribute simultaneously to the store’s customer experience, customers get a frictionless shopping experience. Customer accounts can be integrated to the store to understand their preferences and buying history.
Retailers will be able to unify customer data to analyze their buying patterns across various channels and understand what specific products they prefer in each channel. By bringing customer and product data together in a nutshell, retailers can close the gaps in omnichannel customer experience.
Stay tuned to our website to know how unified commerce is helping retailers during COVID-19.
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