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Unified commerce focuses on creating an environment where customers can fully experience a brand and in which retailers can then leverage a single, 360-degree customer view. Retailers must not only offer personalization online and in-store but also in the spaces between online research and in-store buying. So just what is unified retail commerce? And how can you implement effectively in relation to your business?

The Benefits of Using Unified Commerce

With one single view of inventory, orders, and customer data, retailers can keep track of what’s happening across their entire business in real-time. One of the main benefits of this approach is that it allows you to make informed business decisions in order to drive greater levels of revenue. In turn, customers will reap the benefits of accurate product inventories as well as the flexibility to browse, pay, and fulfil orders in whatever way they want.

As unified commerce statistics illustrate, by the end of this year, 81% of retailers will deploy a unified commerce platform. It is now an essential way to compete in the current omnichannel environment as this study found that 28% of respondents had implemented a unified commerce approach, compared to just 9% the previous year as the unified commerce market size grows in relation to these retail innovation statistics 2021 has thrown up.

Main Components of Unified Commerce

Some of the main reasons that unified commerce is being implemented more and more include:

Accurate Tracking of Customer Interactions: Buyer journeys are complex and customers are using an increasing number of channels to complete a purchase. With unified commerce, you can track customer behaviour across every touchpoint and turn it into an opportunity to re-engage. Someone can start their journey clicking on an ad and from there, they can create an account, add an item to their cart, and leave. You can then email them about this item, including extra information. This information can then be used to improve your ad targeting on social media and across the sites your audience visits. This level of personalization regarding interactions will make your customers feel appreciated and valued by your business.

Tailored Shopping Experiences: By using analytics to understand customers, you can accurately predict future shopping behaviour and then recommend the perfect product to the ideal customer at the right time. This helps form loyalty as you’ll know what appeals to your customers based on their shopping habits. As well as this, employees get access to customer profiles and high-level analytics giving them better insight into who they’re selling to and can, therefore, provide a highly personal service.

Real-Time Product Updates: Giving customers visibility of your products is vital as 94% of consumers stay loyal to brands that offer transparency. Reliable stock information, accurate pricing and moving inventory based on increasing demands can all be achieved because customers can’t buy what isn’t there. Having an accurate inventory helps your business as well as your customers because it allows you to see what products need to be ordered before you run out.

Real-Time Product Updates

Unified Commerce and Omnichannel

It’s important to understand the differences between unified commerce and an omnichannel or multichannel approach to see how they can benefit your business operations. These can essentially be boiled down to:

Multichannel: This involves the use of multiple channels such as websites, social media, apps and emails, to attract shoppers. Essentially, this means that if you have an online store and a Facebook page, you’re delivering a multichannel experience. The problem with multichannel operations revolves around inconsistencies across different channels that can lead to confusion, drop-offs and lost potential income.

Omnichannel: While an omnichannel approach solves the problem of inconsistencies through delivering the same look, feel and messaging across channels, each platform needs to be managed separately via its own interface so creating and delivering this experience can be expensive and difficult.

Unified Commerce: Unified commerce can be defined as one platform that manages all customer communications which allows retailers to create one consistent experience across channels and devices. This means that instead of having multiple interfaces, you now only need to manage one platform, simplifying, streamlining and unifying the overall shopping experience.

Unified Commerce

How Retail Brands Can Refine Customer Journey With Unified Commerce

On a unified platform, you can offer more purchasing and financing options to your customers when it comes to the checkout stage. Shoppers can add a product to their carts online, enter a promo code, and then opt for an in-store pickup option. Or, you can email customers their carts after an in-store visit so they can complete their purchases from the comfort of their home after having time to consider their options.

You can even integrate shipping into this approach. With 73% of customers wanting order tracking across all touchpoints, a unified commerce platform can give customers a tracking number irrelevant if they complete an order in-store or online. Basically, order management becomes simpler, whether it’s purchasing products, engaging with customers or tracking sales, unified commerce makes the whole process simpler for all involved.

Final Thoughts

At its core, a unified commerce approach is about creating harmony between important customer touchpoints and your sales channels. In essence, every part of the customer experience from beginning to end needs to feel like an accurate and intimate extension of your brand ethos and messaging.

Today, unified commerce solutions represent the next logical step beyond current omnichannel strategies. By undertaking a measured approach that engages with all existing systems, businesses can begin to offer a consistently high-quality customer experience across all channels in an efficient, cost-effective way like never before.

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