If you want to get ahead in the cutthroat world of retail, the customer journey is the key to success. But in a world where the face of online retail is changing so rapidly, managing the customer experience is easier said than done. There was a time when all online sales were carried out over desktop platforms. Now, however, mobile devices and the Internet of Things have emerged to bring the retail experience directly to the customer.
As such, retailers need to create a consistently high-quality experience for the customer wherever they go, whatever platform they prefer to use at any given time. Multichannel and omnichannel platforms go some way towards scratching this itch. But unified commerce is the best way to deliver what customers want from their retail experience, increasing engagement and promoting brand loyalty.
What is unified commerce?
Unified commerce is both an evolution and a revolution. While it is the next step on from multichannel and omnichannel platforms, it is a ground-up restructuring of the customer experience. This restructuring is designed to engage customers anywhere at any time, delivering a consistent customer experience (CX) across multiple platforms.
Multichannel platforms are a series of integrated standalone systems. Not only does this make it tricky to deliver consistent CX, it also limits the insights that can be gleaned into your customers’ behaviour.
Unified commerce, on the other hand, uses a single centralised platform. Standalone EPOS, CRMs and retail management systems are replaced by a single system that provides access to the same data across multiple retail sites as well as online.
The benefits of unified commerce
Unified commerce requires a complete reorganisation of your digital retail infrastructure. Nonetheless, it carries with it a range of benefits that may fast-track your growth. These include:
It allows retailers to deliver a true-to-brand customer experience across multiple platforms
Retailers can follow customer activities across different touchpoints to gain a greater understanding of their path to purchase
Operational efficiency is improved, and IT costs may even be reduced in the long term
Managers (or anyone else in the business) can get real-time access to data across multiple platforms, wherever they are
It becomes much quicker and easier to implement changes in response to market trends
Retailers only need to use one vendor, making it much easier to resolve issues with no buck-passing
No need to lose sales due to inventory problems. Unified commerce allows customers to purchase items that are out of stock in the store for home delivery
Customisation becomes much easier, allowing customers to tweak their retail experience to suit their needs and preferences
Creating a consistent and customisable customer experience can increase sales and encourage customer loyalty
Implementing unified commerce
Unified commerce can be applied to in-store retail, ecommerce and blended retail approaches. It can be leveraged in order to help you address your business’ priorities.
However, here are some tips on best practice when implementing unified commerce:
Use automation offered by unified commerce to streamline the purchase order process and reduce the risk of stock availability issues
Consider an “endless aisle” approach to in-store retail where customers can order items not physically in stock via a kiosk or tablet
Use customer insights to deliver personalised offers and loyalty schemes
Implement one-click purchases across multiple platforms to remove barriers to sales
Invest the capital you’ve saved on development into optimising your online shopping environment to reduce bounce rates and target cart abandonment
We Can Help
If you’re interested in finding out more about unified commerce and delivering a consistent customer experience across multiple platforms, then get in touch with our financial experts. Discover how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.