RESEARCH shows that businesses who are slow to adopt new technologies use an unnecessarily complicated array of different systems to manage their multi-channel eCommerce model. The time overhead in maintaining these systems, and the downtime when the integrations between them rupture, seriously impacts productivity and profits.
So, it’s no surprise that the benefits of a Unified Commerce platform are fast becoming a popular solution for retailers looking into ways to improve their business processes and gain more efficiency and competitive advantage. This Digital Commerce 360 Report addresses why unified commerce is becoming the retail industry standard.
To operate effectively and engage with fast-moving consumers and retail trends, retailers need a single source of truth for sales data and reporting. Otherwise, it’s virtually impossible to track performance across channels efficiently.
The fact is that your commerce platform must unify with both the sales and supply sides of your business. And when reviewing Unified Commerce platforms, make sure your selection has an ePOS system to connect your digital channels with actual retail locations in a central reporting hub.
This all-in-one approach is what retailers find attractive about Unified Commerce. It motivates a move from siloed multi-channel retail to cohesive omni-channel retailing. Unified Commerce takes advantage of being a cloud-based software solution. It combines CRM, eCommerce, and retail management functionality including inventory management, warehouse management and reporting and EPoS in one system. All of these elements are updated from a central database.
Understanding what Unified Commerce delivers is an excellent first step in assessing whether it’s the right path for you. Because it’s unified and in the cloud, data is available in real-time from one comprehensive source and is always accurate across every channel for every stakeholder.
At the very least, you’ll get the benefit if you’re a multi-channel retailer or a retailer with plans to develop a more effective customer engagement model. This means you’ll want to be selling through eCommerce and at some point physical retail locations, pop-up stores or concessions. The point of developing Unified Commerce platforms is to meet the challenge of multi-channel selling. A single-channel retailer would not benefit from a Unified Commerce Solution.
Replatforming from multiple systems to just one is no small task and needs a strong case to be made. Fortunately, there are plenty of benefits to be gained from a Unified commerce approach.
Having a unified view of your product and customer data is crucial for providing a consistent experience to customers across channels. Building your retail business on a single unified platform that connects data sources and workflows allows you to manage all your sales channels in one place and has the following benefits:
1. Improved Inventory Management & Order Fulfillment
2. Retailers Gain a True Single View of The Customer (SCV)
3. No Integrations Means Consistent Access To Data
4. Retailers Can Deliver a True Omni-Channel Experience
5. Data Can Be Accessed Instantly By Anyone In The Business
6. Retailers Only Need To Work With One Vendor
7. Purchase Order Management and Creation Can Be Streamlined
8. Retailers Can Offer An Endless Aisle Experience
Unified Commerce offers an all-in-one approach to omni-channel retailing. Instead of having separate vendors, systems and processes for CRM, eCommerce, ePOS and retail management and reporting, there’s just one real-time and connected system.
The outcomes of centralising data, only dealing with one vendor and having no integrations between core systems make a strong case for upgrading to a Unified Commerce platform. This point was reinforced in a Boston Retail Partners survey which reports that 81% of retailers say they will deploy a Unified Commerce platform by the end of 2020.
So, to capitalise on the post-pandemic eCommerce boom and push back against the economic headwinds, you need to optimise commerce across channels like online marketplaces, social media, retail, and wholesale. A unified approach will give your team the information and the confidence to deliver immersive, unified experiences wherever your customers are.