Unified commerce (UC) is a term that is becoming more and more common in business, as it will be an important part of doing business in 2023. But what exactly is unified commerce, and why is it so important? Let’s say a few words about this. Simply put, unified commerce is when all sales and marketing channels are combined into a single system that works well together.
This can include both online and offline sales channels, as well as old and new ways of marketing. By bringing these channels together, businesses can give customers a more seamless experience that makes the most of each channel.
How Does Unified Commerce Work?
Unified commerce has a number of important benefits. First, it helps businesses reach customers more effectively through all channels. This makes it easier for businesses to find new ways to grow.
Customers expect a smooth shopping experience across all channels more than ever. And by 2023, people will expect to be able to use these channels at any time and any place. Companies need to switch from multi-channel or omni-channel platforms to integrated platforms that make customers more interested and encourage them to buy again. To do well after 2022, retailers will need the scalability and scalability that unified commerce gives them.
Because the omni-channel retail environment was made up of separate systems, omni-channel commerce was a mess of disconnected channels and overloaded integrations. This made it hard to give the same customer experience (CX) every time. Or get the same idea (or opinion) about the customer. On the other hand, unified commerce is made with the customer in mind from the start. This makes it possible for retailers to give their customers a great experience by using a central platform with integrated commerce solutions.
So, unified commerce is not only the next step in omni-channel retail, but it is also the solution to all of its problems.
In unified commerce, all sales channels are made better by a single platform that acts as a growth engine for the whole business. From the consumer’s point of view, shopping is smooth as they move from one touchpoint to the next. Through Unified, retailers and brands are the only ones who can offer customer-first commerce.
Unified Commerce or “All Channels”
Back in the 1990s, the first step in e-commerce was to have an online presence to go with stores. After that came email and search engine marketing. But retailers have realized that they need to use broader strategies until mobile shopping and social media are more common.
The idea of omni-channel shopping came to be, and each digital touchpoint works on its own. Major e-commerce sites don’t make their own apps or websites for mobile devices. Orders made on the web were handled by a separate distribution center. The IRL store and the online store were both trying to make money.
Before 2021, it was clear that there were problems with this strategy. To compete with Amazon, stores had to offer better customer service no matter where a customer started or ended their shopping trip. But, as we’ve already said, this has led to a disorganized mess of technologies that don’t work well together. Touchpoints talk to each other in unified commerce. It’s not a separate unit. A single platform serves as an end-to-end solution for all features and works with different sales channels.
This integrated platform is built on a single technology stack that takes care of everything from omni-channel marketing to order processing. From the consumer’s point of view, shopping is smooth as they move from one touchpoint to the next. At the same time, retailers can see how customers interact with the brand from every angle.
Where It Comes Down
A vision of unified commerce may seem like a big goal, but customer expectations are getting higher.
A lot of shoppers want a consistent and personalized experience at every point of contact. In other words, we want to be able to start shopping at one touchpoint and finish the purchase at another. And that might mean going offline instead of online. Even when they switch between touchpoints, buyers expect prices and promotions to be the same. Most buyers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that stays the same over time.
Only during the COVID, or Pandemic Era, from 2022 to 2026, when online orders, curbside pickups, and contactless experiences exploded, did the demand for these things go up.
But stores haven’t kept up so far. A recent survey found that only 28% of retailers offered the “start everywhere and end everywhere” feature through permanent carts and other features. Also, most merchants had systems in place to support consistent pricing and promotions before the pandemic, but only 43% had optimized their operations to make sure the systems worked well.
COVID is making retailers take a lot of steps forward. But they had to work hard to get more money and resources. If they don’t put enough money into a unified trading platform, they won’t be able to deal with new problems.
What is a Unified Commerce Platform (UCP)?
The Unified Commerce Platform is a central platform that connects back-end commerce solutions to make a fully integrated data model. This gives transactions a single source of truth. Leading integration platforms help break down technology barriers, keep customer data moving in real time, and integrate your shopping journey for a better CX.
We say that a unified trading platform has one order, one customer, and one user experience across all touchpoints and experiences.
But for companies to get the most out of unified commerce, they need a platform that is built on top of that. You need a trading solution that works well and gives you control and visibility from start to finish. You need commerce technology that combines online sales, order management, and personalization so that you can keep track of everything.
- From a single source of truth, you can see the whole customer journey and get real-time customer insights. Merchants can track shoppers through all of their interactions and figure out how they buy things. Heterogeneous systems are now one of the biggest problems with unified commerce, and many retailers say they have trouble keeping track of customers as they move through their business.
- Give your customers a brand-loyal experience without having to worry about your technology infrastructure. With an all-in-one cloud platform, you can pay for hosting, testing, and making new features for your website.
- IT resource bottlenecks make it hard to set up unified commerce, and a complete platform solves this problem. From a single management console, marketers and merchandisers can see the whole customer journey and make quick changes based on the market.
Unified Commerce Infrastructure Built for the Growth of an Organization
An end-to-end commerce platform can help with more than just day-to-day business. A trader can be more flexible with a cutting-edge platform that was built from a single codebase. Future changes and new features can be added quickly to an integrated platform, but it can take a long time and cost a lot to update the daisy chain array in a stand-alone system.
Some other ways that technology helps merchants are:
- Use the many features and integrations with popular third-party apps: The integrated platform gives traders access to a professional set of features and a wide range of partner integrations that can be added quickly and at low cost.
- Build in a lot of customization and use direct native integration: By choosing modules that work on their own, merchants can customize their online shopping environment with less money spent on development.
- Use the latest scalable micro-services-based platforms to get the most out of your technology investment: An organization that is effective and ready for the future has an integrated platform that is built for agility. You can add new services quickly, and the headless architecture lets you change your presentation layer as you add new touchpoints.Today
- Most unified commerce platforms are built around machine learning, which lets you personalize and improve the touchpoints you already have. Or start something brand new and exciting for your customers.
What’s good about Making the Unified Commerce CX better
In the business world of today, making the customer experience better than ever means more sales and customer loyalty. For example, since the pandemic, KPMG has found that the customer experience rankings of the best-performing brands are on average 11% higher than those of their competitors. Unified Commerce makes CX better by meeting key expectations for relevance, accuracy, and customer service.
End-to-end personalization lets merchants offer a relevant experience that works for both online shopping and in-store interactions. Show the most relevant products and content based on location, order history, and AI-driven personalization to help shoppers get the right products faster.
Understanding orders and inventory in real time is important so that shoppers can figure out what they want to buy and how orders will be filled so they can plan their visits better. When retailers use different order management, product information, and patchwork for their online systems, they have to deal with inconsistencies and delays, which can make customers unhappy.
People are more confident than ever in customer service. Shoppers expect stores to help them with more and more complicated problems than ever before. Harvard Business Review says that during the first two weeks of the pandemic, the number of “difficult” requests doubled to one-fifth. For a good interaction, customer service reps and store clerks need to know what customers have looked at and bought in the past.
Plan for unified commerce in 2023
As retailers move into the second half of the COVID-19 crisis, customer expectations are rising. Using the right unified commerce strategies and solutions, merchants can get the robust functionality they need to meet these expectations, as well as the flexibility they need to make changes in the future.
The 2022 Unified Commerce Report has templates for how organizations should talk about unified commerce and a six-step plan for making a unified commerce strategy that will work in the future. It’s made up of.
In a world where e-commerce is becoming more and more common, it’s important for businesses to have a unified commerce strategy to stay competitive.
Unified commerce is the process of combining online and offline sales channels to make the customer experience as smooth as possible. By 2023, businesses will need unified commerce because customers will expect to be able to buy goods and services both online and in person.