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.
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.
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 customers the same experience every time (CX). 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 realised 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 centre. The IRL store and the online store were both trying to make money.
Before 2020, 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 disorganised 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 personalised 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 2019 to 2021, 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 anywhere and end anywhere” feature, which can be used with permanent carts and other tools. Also, most merchants had systems in place to support consistent pricing and promotions before the pandemic, but only 43% had optimised 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.