WHAT IS UNIFIED commerce?

A unified commerce strategy is necessary to retain customers in today's hyper-competitive retail landscape. Let's uncover yours together. 

WHY RETAILERS NEED TO CREATE UNIQUE COMMERCE EXPERIENCES

With so many new sales channels emerging over the past years, it has become harder and harder for brands and retailers to navigate an increasingly fragmented and complex retail landscape.  

But customers don’t care about channels. They care about experience. And customer expectations for seamless shopping experiences have never been higher. Here are some numbers to back that up. These days, 64% of consumers use multiple devices to start and finish a single transaction. And two-thirds (66%) of consumers now expect retailers to understand their unique needs and expectations throughout the customer journey (Salesforce, State of the Connected Customer report, 2022).  

The pressure is on for retailers to deliver interconnected, personalised shopping experiences.  

The solution? Unified commerce.

Your customers expect the same personalised recommendations, loyalty rewards, seasonal offers and tailored customer service no matter where they meet and interact with your brand. That's why your digital and physical sales channels must blend together and reinforce one another.

Lars CimberDirector, Cloud Commerce & Salesforce at IMPACT

DEFINING UNIFIED COMMERCE

New to unified commerce? We’re here to help you deliver those engaging commerce experiences with a winning unified strategy.  

But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

Unified commerce is the practice of delivering hyper-customised and frictionless shopping experiences across your online and offline channels. How? By harnessing the power of your different technology systems and the consolidated customer data insights they contain through one centralised platform.  

Here’s how it works. By connecting your behind-the-scenes systems with your frontend systems via a single platform, you consolidate data about your customers and business into one repository.Doing this enables you to create a single view of your customer that can be accessed by any of your customer-facing systems – in-store, in-app or online.  

Ultimately, this strategy means you can build more personal and relevant customer experiences, streamline your operations and get you a holistic overview of your performance.

The consolidation challenge

So, you want to pursue unified commerce? This is where most retailers hit a snag or two. Siloed data. Sprawling tech stacks. Outdated tools. Dark spots between in-store and online.  

To enable the data consolidation that is a preface to unified commerce, we recommend investing in technologies with interconnected commerce capabilities, like a CDP (Customer Data Platform).  

Having the right technology in place means you’ll be able to create a single view of your customer that can be accessed by any of your customer-facing systems. Yes, we did say any.  

Naturally, your systems include web and mobile commerce, but they don’t end there. In-store screens, mobile apps and other new technologies are important too.   

With the extra level of composability provided by the APIs in modern commerce solutions like CDPs, you’ll be able to build personalised and engaging shopping experiences based on your consolidated insights.  

The end result? Happier and more loyal customers. 

UNIFIED COMMERCE IN REAL LIFE

We’ve covered the theory. Now, here’s an everyday example of unified commerce hard at work in real life.  

Scenario: Your customer just purchased a dress from your webshop.  

Four hours later, she picks it up at one of your stores. As she collects the dress at the checkout, your store assistants already know her order historyspecifically, her last five orders. Oh, and it’s her birthday. A nugget of information they know thanks to her signing up for your newsletter.  

Now, your store assistants feel confident she’ll love a t-shirt that just arrived this morning too. Knowing that today happens to be her birthday, they also have a voucher ready for her, giving her a 25% discount.  

This is a basic example of fundamental retail systems working together: a commerce platform, an OMS and a mobile POS system, pulling on the same customer data to create a unified commerce experience 

At its heart, unified commerce is all about creating convenient, relevant and personalised shopping experiences that delight your customers by drawing recommendations from the same powerful AI tools that you have in your digital storefront.   

Besides the obvious benefit of increased revenue, a unified commerce strategy increases customer loyalty, enhances forecasts and boosts efficiency. 

5 benefits of a unified commerce strategy
01. INCREASE REVENUE

Unified commerce doesn’t just make for happy customers. It ups conversion rates and drives revenue too. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Gartner predicts that businesses offering a unified commerce experience ‘will see at least a 20% uplift in total revenue.’ Nice.   

 

02. CREATE LOYAL CUSTOMERS 

Your customers don’t just buy products. They buy experiences. With a unified commerce approach, you’ll deliver on-brand, seamless and tailored experiences regardless of which channel you and your customers meet on.  

 

03. BETTER FORECASTING 

Collecting and consolidating all your customer data in one system gives you a more complete view of your customers’ behaviours and preferences. In turn, that consolidation makes it easier to get your inventory right and reduce the risk of dead stock. Put simply: waste less while always giving your customers what they want.   

 

04. BOOST ORGANISATIONAL EFFICIENCY   

Besides providing a more accurate view of your customers, having a central repository of all your data heightens your operational efficiency and employee productivity too. The fewer data repositories and integrations you have to rely on, the less time you’ll need to dedicate to finding and analysing the numbers within them – time which can be better spent elsewhere!   

 

05. HIGHER MARKETING ROI  

A 50% reduction is customer acquisition costs. Yes, you read that right. Unified commerce provides a higher ROI on your marketing spend through AI-powered targeting. The cherry on the unified commerce cake is higher purchase rates, a longer customer lifetime value and increased engagement.  

READY TO ROLL OUT YOUR UNIFIED COMMERCE STRATEGY? 

We know that getting started with unified commerce isn’t always straightforward. There are several initial barriers to overcome, including implementation costs, time and sourcing the right technologies.  

That’s where we can help.  

We use technology to transform businesses – and we’ve done so for more than 20 years.  

Together with clients like Zizzi, Rosendahl and Skoringen, we’ve built pioneering solutions, and we know our way around unified commerce experiences.  

Here are a few of the areas we're capable in:  

  • Real-time personalisation solutions  
  • Smooth check-out flows with payments already on file  
  • Building native apps that can be managed from the same system as your online shop  
  • In-store displays operated from the same system as your online shop 
  • Enhanced clienteling with apps and sales assistant software working seamlessly together  
  • Frictionless BOPIS and BORIS solutions   
  • Unified commerce messaging across traditional channels  

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UNIFIED COMMERCE? 

Reach out to our unified commerce expert Lars Cimber. He’ll be happy to get you started.   

Lars Cimber IMPACT