Retailers around the world are preparing for a major tectonic shift in commerce strategy in 2016. The Omni-channel model is fading into obscurity while Unified Commerce is thrusting itself into the spotlight.
Unified commerce is having a unified ecommerce platform that combines your mobile ecommerce technology with class order management, inventory management, fulfillment and warehouse management, CRM, and much more. Understanding unified commerce and knowing what strategy needs to include is the first step in starting the journey to unified commerce.
Key Features of a Unified Commerce Strategy
- Real-time and contextual marketing efforts
- Customer-based pricing
- Product availability across all channels and locations
- Enhanced supply chain visibility
- Powerful and reliable network infrastructure
The end goal and hope of unified commerce is to increase customer engagement by monitoring and adapting customer experience based upon the interactions and purchases of consumers across all of the various sales channels.
In a recent survey done by Boston Retail Partners, the following expectations for retailers in 2016 were found.
- 78% of retailers plan to migrate to a unified commerce platform within 5 years.
- 45% of retailers say mobile websites are the top ecommerce capability.
- 63% plan to accept Apple Pay within two years.
- 85% expect an increase in ecommerce websites’ revenue.
While 85 percent of retailers have claimed unified commerce as their top priority, most aren’t making the required effort to upgrade their infrastructure and platforms to achieve the fluid shopping experience that customers are seeking. This is alarming since the customer experience is the key differentiator that keeps customers coming back despite having other options available.
For any retailers on the fence about the idea of unified commerce, the past holiday season proved that retailers need to make the change. Many stores reported mistakes make across their complex supply chains with in-store pickup, resulting in many disgruntled customers and lost sales.
According to Ken Morris, principal with Boston Retail Partners said “The risk of losing customers due to disappointing shopping experiences is deadly. The solution is unified commerce with a platform supporting all customer touch-points and channels which eliminates integration issues and supports real-time visibility.”
According to Mozu, an innovator in cloud commerce platforms, unified commerce trumps omni-channel because it leverages a single platform, creating one integrated shopping experience with mobile, online and physical stores. This type of seamless shopping experience across channels is not wishful thinking for retailers, it’s very possible and it’s also the expectation of today’s consumer.