Customers and ubiquitous mobile devices have completely changed the face of the retail. Customers have become very comfortable with mobile shopping and the power and convenience of online commerce integrated with social media. Today’s customer is always connected, and interacts with her family, friends and colleagues in real-time. Always wired, real-time communication is the norm, and customers have come to expect the same of the brands they shop.
Retailers are responding, and understand that mobility is the convergence of the online and in-store experience. Retailers are shifting their focus from channel integration to a holistic customer experience. This shift goes beyond omni-channel and a channel integration focus, and is what we term unified commerce. Retailers can’t afford to operate from within channel silos, and must transform their organization, business processes and technology to align with their customers.
For example, let’s say a customer is shopping online, puts items in her online shopping cart and then abandons the cart, choosing to visit that retailer’s local store. Unified commerce means that when the customer walks into the store and identifies herself (opts-in), the associate can look up her shopping history, including that abandoned cart, in real-time and know what the customer was looking at online. Unified commerce transcends channels and enables the opportunity for a store associate to sell to a customer based on her digital footprint.
Integral to unified commerce is a unified commerce platform, meaning a single centralized commerce platform for all channels. Based on BRP’s recent 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, single commerce platform implementations will increase by 663% over the next four years. Only 8% of retailers indicated they had already implemented a single commerce platform. However more than a third of retailers will have a single commerce platform implemented within two years, and more than half will have a single commerce platform implemented within the next four years.
Order management solutions (OMS) are another key component of a unified commerce platform, and retailers realize this with a reported 250% increase in the implementation of single order management platforms in three years. Some retailers have started utilizing their OMS as an enterprise wide order capture hub or “single cart,” which allows retailers to view and access their customers’ order history, wish lists and purchase behavior. This approach has the added benefit of the same business rules and features available at every touch point.
I encourage you to read the complete survey report for additional insights on retailers’ top priorities.
Download Now: 2015 POS/Customer engagement Benchmarking Survey
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