If there’s ever a warehouse that stocks up its shelves with innovative strategies and tools to attract customer traffic, the retail industry would be the proud owner of it. The ability of the industry to meet the rising customer demands regardless of any unforeseen event such as this pandemic has been one of their greatest hallmarks. Although the retail landscape has been quite proactive by adopting multichannel and omnichannel models to serve customers of various classes, retailers have been still one step behind providing a consistent and integrated shopping experience for customers across all online and physical store touchpoints.

Over 50% customers encounter a disconnected shopping experience across all touchpoints during their purchase journey – McKinsey.

Businesses with multiple touchpoints must ensure a consistent shopping experience by building a readily deployable unified commerce strategy which integrates systems, touchpoints, and products to meet customer demands. Unified commerce can only be achieved when all aspects of a retail business including supply chain have clear visibility between each other.

Unified commerce is the concept of providing a frictionless shopping experience regardless of the kind of journey a customer opts, or what touchpoints they have approached to complete a purchase. Let’s consider a scenario where a customer sees a product on Instagram or Facebook with an offer indicating a 10% discount while completing the purchase. If the customer happens to see that the discount is not applied, chances are they might not proceed with the payment.

Four Pillars of New Retail

Here’s where the retailer should pitch in to effectively synchronize their touchpoints for a customer to expect zero interruptions during a omnichannel journey. There are four components that helps to deliver a seamless shopping experience:

Unified Commerce - 4 Pillars of New Retail

Interactions:

Today’s customers always take the omnichannel route in their purchase journeys, wherein they start from mobile and end up in physical stores to complete their purchase. As retailers expand their touchpoints, it’s also crucial for them to record customer behavior across each touchpoint in a unified way. A single-channel view of customers does not have a customer’s previous buying history, which results in a disjointed customer experience.

Retailers should not only focus on keeping a record of their customer interactions, but also turn the spotlight on how a business interacts within various departments.

Channels:

As you may know, as far as the customers are concerned, the concept of multiple touchpoints in a business is obsolete. Every sales channel provided by the retailer should guarantee a seamless experience. When a customer visits different channels during a purchase, there should be no discrepancies in the products or prices whatsoever. A typical example is displaying the same promotional offer in store, online, or a mobile app before a customer finds a better deal in say, Amazon or Flipkart.

Systems:

All the systems within a business operating on the front line must be working cohesively with each other. Whether it’s a mobile payment system, Point of Sale (POS) solution, or a merchandise scanner, the lack of unity in these systems could have a larger impact in sales capitalization.

Products:

Accurate product information across all touchpoints is a vital cog in a multichannel purchase journey. Updating inventory levels of products and unifying product information should be consistent across channels to create a unified commerce platform and also helps your sales teams.

Read: Unified Commerce Solutions Retail Omni Channel Experience

The New Look of a Retail Environment

So, how exactly does a unified commerce platform impact both retailers and customers? Here’s how the back end of a retail store works:

  • Customer’s footprints are monitored as soon as they enter the store. RFID tags and sensors communicate with the customer through their smartphones to help them in store.
  • As the customer’s smartphone is connected to the store’s app, the retailer can record the products the customer is interested in, but doesn’t purchase. These information will be recorded and stored for future transactions.
  • As the previous interactions with customers are recorded, retailers can send personalized offers through an Instagram post for the customer to have a faster checkout.

On the front end, a unified commerce customer experience goes something like this:

  • Customer browse the mobile app, picks up a few products, adds one to the cart, but doesn’t make a purchase.
  • While the customer browses social media later in the day, the retailer sends out a notification to buy that product at a discounted price.
  • As the customer clicks on the link, it is directed to the store’s app and finds out that the discount is being applied. Eventually, the customer buys the product and adds two more products in the cart during the process.

4 key milestones of your unified commerce experience journeyClick here to Read Article

Final Thoughts

Retailers who deploy a unified commerce strategy can easily map their customer journey by synchronizing their online channels with physical stores. Now, when consumers browse on their mobile app and leave without any purchase, the retailers will know their customers’ product preferences and can start their buying journey in other channels like in-store to complete it or vice versa whenever they’re ready, thereby reducing the retailer’s risk of losing customers.

We hope you are as convinced and excited as we are to get you started on a successful unified commerce platform.

Get a free consultation with our retail experts to fast forward your retail journey.

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Sreyesh Sarma

Sreyesh Sarma

Executive Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
Sreyesh is a content writer with a yearning to explore various genres of marketing content. He loves to binge-watch crime and horror television series when he’s not writing. An ardent fan of Test cricket with a craving for food, travel, music, and offbeat movies.
Sreyesh Sarma