A True Omnichannel Retailing and The Power of Unified Commerce
By Multidev Technologies · PUBLISHED September 12, 2022
Customers expected a more convenient experience and used a variety of channels, devices, and platforms to get it. Customer expectations became increasingly demanding, and store infrastructure development could no longer meet them. Omnichannel retail optimizes multiple sales channels while bringing them together at a high level of integration. Omnichannel retail connects all channels, combining the showroom and website to create a single, unified experience.
Unified commerce leverages retail technology to integrate all business functions, channels, and customer data on a single platform. Instead of allowing your customers to move seamlessly across multiple channels, you’ll allow them to stay in one channel, which integrates all other channels and data. Unified commerce solutions provide an all-in-one solution for Retail, Merchant Services, POS, E-commerce, and ERP.
What is omnichannel retail?
Omnichannel retailing is a strategy in which retailers engage customers across multiple digital and physical touchpoints. As customers move across these channels, applications and data move with them. This creates a consistent, brand-consistent experience from start to finish. An omnichannel commerce strategy improves the customer experience and provides more channels for customers to shop, whether it’s on mobile, web, or in-store.
What is unified commerce?
Unified commerce is a strategy that centralizes the data you’ve collected about customers and products onto a single platform. These platforms can interconnect e-commerce, mobile commerce, order fulfillment, inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), and more to provide insights on improving the customer experience.
What is the difference between omnichannel commerce and unified commerce?
Omnichannel commerce consists of siloed data, complex integrations, unconnected systems, and channels. In contrast, a unified commerce strategy relies on a centralized commerce platform to enable consistent and accurate information across all organizational channels. It connects all back-end systems to customer-facing channels so critical data can flow between them in real-time while ensuring a single source of truth.
Unified commerce and omnichannel solutions can help your retail organization turn everyone into an engaged, satisfied, and loyal customer, and you just need the right tools.
10 Ways Unified Commerce Will Support Your Retail Business
Here are ten reasons retailers need to adopt a unified commerce strategy to improve the customer experience.
1. Get a Single Version of The Truth
When the entire enterprise, distribution centers, e-commerce sites, stores, and headquarters operate on a single platform, all departments can access and leverage the same data. A centralized database that stores information in a consistent, non-redundant form is the best way to get a single version of the truth for your retail business. And when you have reliable data, your financial reporting is more accessible, and you can track their key performance indicators more accurately. You can see how products and promotions are performing and make decisions that will benefit the business faster and with more confidence.
2. Deliver Seamless Experiences Across All Channels
While the modern consumer journey is more fluid and flexible than ever, buyers still demand a single, seamless shopping experience. They may choose to interact with your brand across multiple digital channels, going through mobile, web, social, etc., before finalizing their purchase. To create a unified experience, your digital commerce tools must go beyond the basic website and connect with each other, as well as the customer, anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Tools that track and aggregate customer activity as they move from one channel to another ensure that no matter when or how the shopper reengages in the conversation, you have the information you need to help them pick up exactly where they left off. With continuity and consistency across all channels, customers will never have to worry about starting over again.
3. Increase Your Sales: There’s nothing more important than this. With a unified commerce strategy, businesses can leverage the experience to acquire new customers because it simplifies the buying and selling process for everyone. Whether shoppers want to buy online, pick up in-store, or any other combination of items to return, it’s possible with unified commerce. Businesses can then leverage this data by improving their marketing and promotional campaigns to increase sales.
4. Unified Order Management: The shopping experience does not end with the purchase. By integrating order management across all channels, both online and in-store. You give customers the power and flexibility to choose how and when orders can be shipped, where they can be delivered, and how they can be returned. Shoppers can buy online and pick up in-store, buy in-store and have items shipped, change orders after they’ve been placed, choose from multiple pickup and delivery options, and return items to any location without the usual hassle.
5. Reduce the Risk of Errors: The omnichannel experience can lead to costly errors due to disparate and disconnected systems. However, unified commerce leverages technology to connect your retail system into a single database, which reduces errors and costs, and improves operational efficiency.
6. Forecasting: Because the data you have will never be more accurate, your business can make better predictions and forecasts about customer behavior. It can identify a customer’s buying habits, provide personalized recommendations, and access inventory from anywhere, including online, to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for. Retailers can design promotions, sales, and other revenue-generating initiatives based on the unified commerce approach.
7. Get a 360-Degree View of Your Customers
In a conventional retail chain, each store location uploads files to the main office at the end of the day. With this setup, you often end up missing or incomplete customer information. By storing all customer information in a single database and allowing associates at different locations to access CRM data in real-time, retailers can get more value out of their data. This data can be used to create more effective loyalty programs and offer personalized recommendations and targeted promotions, in other words, to design more effective and engaging customer experiences.
8. Improved Staff Training:
When you have to train new employees on many different software systems, onboarding new staff can take a lot of time and effort. And if you’re using different software solutions in each department, you can’t quickly move employees from one task to another, as they will need additional training. With a unified commerce platform, you only need to teach employees how to use one system, allowing you to reduce training costs and move employees from one job to another quickly as required.
9. Real-time Inventory Management: The unified commerce experience provides organizations with cross-channel visibility to increase awareness of what they have and don’t have in inventory. Real-time visibility allows you to act quickly and track inventory in real-time across all your retail locations. From there, you can stop overselling or underselling products, which can lead to additional inventory costs, logistics expenses, and shipping costs.
10. Automated Retail Processes: Instead of spending time managing manual and time-consuming business processes, a centralized platform enables retailers to automate critical processes. Employee productivity improves as they spend time on more valuable tasks that generate revenue and improve the customer experience. When you use a unified system, you limit integrations because most of the functionality you need is already in one platform. This reduces the costs (and time) involved in all phases, from implementation to maintenance and upgrades.
Deliver Unified Commerce Experiences with ChainDrive
The world of commerce is changing, but perhaps not in the way you expect. In fact, the future of shopping won’t be retail or online but a hybrid of the two. Omnichannel retail and unified commerce bring everything together in a unified, customer-centric solution. The unified commerce solutions will enhance the customer experience, regardless of how customers choose to shop, and increase efficiency across all channels. Retailers must be able to manage their integration across different systems, applications, customers, and partners. With the right tools, your customers can enjoy a seamless, personalized, and interactive shopping experience, whether or not they’ve ever set foot in your store.
Unified commerce solutions help to overcome today’s challenges to deliver the unique and seamless shopping experiences that customers expect. Request a live demo with our software experts to create a unified commerce platform that will make your retail business more efficient and profitable.