A survey done by the Retail Touch Points reported that 81 percent of retailers will start using unified commerce platforms by the end of 2020.
Many retailers, especially small and mid-size businesses, have a hard time competing with giants like Amazon. However, one of the most powerful ways to distinguish themselves is through personalization and unified commerce experiences.
A unified commerce experience is very important to each customer as they expect to have personal engagement and often, to be rewarded for their loyalty. The ability to see products across different channels and get a frictionless experience is on top of their list.
The Main Components of Unified Commerce
A unified commerce experience consists of four central pillars. They include channels, systems, products, and interactions.
Below, we begin to dig a little deeper into each of these components, and list tips for achieving a unified commerce experience for your brand.
6 Tips for Achieving Unified Commerce Experience
1. Address Issues of Organizational Nature
Among the biggest obstacles to achieving a unified commerce experience are issues with the internal organization. A lot of brands treat their e-commerce and in-store channels as separate entities which causes a lot of disparity.
Your brand should do a review of its current policies and processes. Are they outdated? How can traditional processes be transformed and enhanced? Is there a holistic approach to marketing?
These are just some of the questions to start with it when addressing the issues of organizational nature.
2. Review Your Current Technology Stack
After addressing these issues, the next important step would be to review your current technology stack.
Don’t start investing in new platforms immediately, without first accessing the makeup of your current technology stack and its impact on other business areas. Adding point-solutions creates long-term challenges to the feasibility and complexity of achieving unified systems.
3. Assess Current Customer Experience Journey
Before implementing a fully-unified customer experience journey, assess its current strengths and weaknesses. Delivering a positive retail experience for your customers is no easy task at all. That is why it’s very important to be intentional about your customer experience journey.
Your brand should establish a customer-centric approach. Always start with the question: “What would the perfect customer experience look like for my customers?”
Once that is determined, strive to intentionally deliver that experience on an ongoing basis.
4. Interact With Customers (And Your Own Departments Too)
Customers will interact with your brand both offline and online. If you only have a single-channel view of your customers, predicting their behaviors is very difficult.
The interactions with your brand should be recorded to allow all channels to be tracked and provide a single point of access.
In order to achieve a fully unified commerce experience, your brand should not only interact directly with your customers but with every customer touchpoint. Great interaction between all of the relevant departments within your organization is necessary if you want to create a full customer-centric approach.
5. Collect And Analyze Data
A key step to achieving a truly unified commerce experience is data unification. Some tools already have unification as a central feature, while others don’t really address this need in a sufficient manner.
Data analytics will be your best friend when deciding on a plan for a unified commerce experience.
Unified data can help you predict and plan all aspects of the commerce business – from supply chain to marketing. It will also provide better visibility across all different segments of the business.
Business intelligence software helps retailers understand the buying habits of their customers by analyzing large volumes of data. Customer analytics is especially important for small and mid-size businesses.
6. Have a Point-of-Sale (POS) System
A Point-of-Sale (POS) system is a necessary tech foundation for achieving a unified commerce experience.
Tracking processes in the retail business is a very tedious and complex task. That is why many small retailers don’t even have a POS system currently in place. However, for that reason, most of these businesses are missing on the opportunity to grow their business and increase revenue.
A great POS system needs to offer four crucial features: sales reporting and analytics dashboard, customer management application, inventory management capabilities, and e-commerce software.
If you have a retail or commerce business that is striving to achieve a unified experience, we can help you define, deliver, and execute a strategic roadmap for success. We invite you to reach us directly for a no obligation, next step to achieve your goals!