Unified commerce – the customer in the center in real time

Googling on Unified commerce today gives more than 107 million hits, so there is no doubt that it is a business strategy that is relevant in today's business. When talking about Unified commerce, seamless retail, the retail company puts the customer at the center and creates a technical infrastructure around the consumer. It gives both the company and its customers a unified experience in all channels that are synced. Instead of having information about the customer journey in lots of fragmented subsystems, everyone gets access to all real-time data, here and now. See Unified commerce more as a way of working than a channel strategy.

Unified commerce

Makes demands on internal systems

It all can sound pretty simple on paper; ensure that the customer gets the right information in all the company's channels in real time and let the company see the customer journey in an overall view.

But a Unified commerce strategy makes demands on all the company's systems and above all that they communicate with each other, or at best use the same data sources.

It's about putting the customer at the center and letting the retailer’s channels, marketing and technical systems surround the customer throughout the shopping journey and freeing the customer from the company's technical obstacles or problems.

A uniform shopping journey

One goal of a Unified Commerce is to offer the customer a uniform shopping journey. But what does that mean in practice? If we let the customer move freely between the company's sales channels, for example by starting a purchase in a phone call, handling the payment in the online store to finally pick up their goods in the nearest store, then the customer has been allowed to move freely in the channels that suit the customer best. The company owns and has full control of the entire customer journey.

All channels work together

In an Omnichannel solution, several channels were opened up, but the big difference in a Unified commerce solution is that here all channels work as one. Many companies that want a Unified commerce approach soon discover that despite good channel strategies, communication between the various systems is deficient. At best, the in-store checkout system (POS) and e-commerce are integrated with the warehouse system (WMS), but e-commerce and the POS system may not exchange any information at all. Which can present challenges when delivering orders and returns.

When all the retail company's systems communicate and share exactly the same data in real time, the customer receives the same information in all channels at the same moment, and we approach Unified commerce. It is thus about starting from the customer and letting technology become an enabler for that. A classic outside-in perspective.

From the company's perspective, you get access to data about the customer that would hardly have been possible in another strategy, which provides enormous insights and opportunities in marketing and optimization of purchases and logistics processes.

How to reach your Unified commerce goals

In order to approach Unified commerce, one should analyze which systems the company currently uses with clear points of contact with the customer throughout the purchase price. From marketing to delivery, then you need a good strategy to tie all the data together into a unified, seamless process.

Creating a good integration from and to your e-commerce is a very good start to the journey towards a Unified commerce strategy. We at 3bits have extensive experience of integrating various systems for building e-commerce that improve the meetings with your customers.

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Get in touch if you want to know more about Unified commerce.