Today’s consumers are using every channel imaginable for their shopping journeys. Phones, computers, tablets, physical retail, etc. Heck, there’s probably somebody out there right now who’s somehow managed to find a way to shop on their calculator.
The point is that there are a lot of ways to shop, and the people doing the shopping all have their preferences. What that means for you is that, if you don’t cater to those preferences, you’re going to lose out on potential customers.
When people are settled on their preferred way to engage with retailers, they’re likely not going to change mediums to buy from you when there is undoubtedly a competitor of yours that’s offering services on that preferred medium. In other words, if somebody primarily shops on their phone and your mobile site/app isn’t up to snuff, they’re going to go somewhere else.
This is where unified commerce comes in, and it’s the natural way to go about things in light of the 2020 mass exodus of consumers to digital shopping.
Omnichannel and Unified Commerce
When talking about unified commerce, it’s almost impossible to not also talk about omnichannel. So, let’s start there.
Omnichannel is a user-centric strategy that focuses on delivering the same brand messaging, marketing communications, and shopping experience to customers no matter how they’re interacting with your store.
Unified commerce is sort of the next step of evolution from omnichannel. It takes that same philosophy of omnichannel, delivering the same experience to users across all interactions, and includes your backend operations into that connectivity.
It’s essentially a tech solution in the form of a platform that centralizes all of your user and product data from all shoppers, whether it’s via mobile app, online store, physical store, whatever.
Another way to think about unified commerce is as a constant real time feedback loop. You are pushing out a unified experience to all shoppers, and in turn you are constantly receiving data from those customer interactions, and it’s all coming and going from one central point. Omnichannel unified commerce combines this feedback loop with constant updates and upkeep, ensuring a harmonized shopping experience across all platforms.
The 4 Components of Unified Commerce
To better understand what unified commerce is, let’s take a look at the 4 components that hold it together.
A unified commerce platform is a single solid foundation that unifies your customer-facing and backend systems. All data and information goes out and comes in via this platform, so you’re able to capture and analyze data from all sources in one location.
This also makes it easier to scale your business as needed and expand to new channels without as much hassle while integrating new technologies as you see fit.
Unified channels means that your customers can interact with your business in any way they please, seamlessly switching from one to the other. For instance, they might order something online that doesn’t fit, and then return it to a physical location. Similarly, their payment details and customer information can be immediately available whether they’re logging in on their phone or using the computer at the library.
This is great for creating consistent and memorable customer experiences that will follow the customer from place to place. It’s also great for loyalty programs. Points or rewards earned via one channel can enrich shopping through another channel. Customers recognize this omnichannel unified commerce approach, and it creates an impression of holistic dedication to customer satisfaction.
Better Product Information Management
Unified commerce also lends itself to spectacular product-related benefits on the backend.
With a centralized PIM system, stock updates will be consistent across all channels. A sales team member in your physical store will have access to the same stock information as a warehouse worker or your online store’s database. It can even be used to push stock information to customer-facing store pages in real time, letting shoppers know when something is out of stock or freshly back in stock.
Consistent Interactions and User Experience
Unified commerce improves customer experiences on multiple fronts.
On the one hand, it provides the customer with the same experience no matter how they’re interacting with your store. That includes omnichannel communication and brand messaging, but it also means that they’ll find the same experience in terms of usability and convenience whether shopping in person or online.
On the other hand, it also means that their data and information carries over across every channel that they’re using to interact with you. They will be recognized as customers however they’re shopping with you. Your online store will know their information, and your sales reps will be able to call it up in physical interactions. It will also make for smoother customer service experiences, since their information and shopping history will be available at a glance.
Avensia Can Help You Achieve Unified Commerce
All of that sounds great, right? Unified commerce really is the best approach to today’s commerce landscape. So you might be asking “What’s the catch?”
There really isn’t one. You just need the technology to make it happen, including the various system components and a strong commerce platform on which to build it all.
That’s where we come in. At Avensia, our commerce experts, tech and design specialists, and customer experience masterminds all come together to help our clients find the commerce solutions that work for them.
We can help you choose and set up the perfect platform for your needs, as well as a best-of-breed software package to facilitate all your PIM, MDM (Master Data Management) and e-commerce needs. We can also help train your staff to bring them on board with your new tech and unified commerce strategy.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let your competition pass you by in this brave new world. Contact us today and let’s start your unified commerce journey together!