PracticalEcommerce – More than three quarters of retailers, including large, established chain stores, plan to unify or connect the software that manages their sales and fulfillment across multiple sales channels — in just the next five years. Small retailers may be able to implement unified commerce sooner than large companies and gain something of a marginal competitive advantage.
Boston Retail Partners, a consultancy, reported in September 2015 that 78 percent of the retailers it had surveyed planned to implement some form of unified commerce platform by 2020. This type of solution can reduce labor expenses, improve workflows, and even, in some cases, improve the shopping experience — thanks to better customer service and better account information.
What Is Unified Commerce?
As a term, unified commerce describes the idea of bringing together, unifying, or interconnecting the various software solutions required to sell products across different channels into a suite or set of solutions that share information and offer a singular interface for users.
Unified commerce may also be thought of as a response to the growth of omnichannel retailing, wherein one retailer might sell to both consumers and other businesses from a physical store, an online store, a half-dozen marketplaces, and via a catalog.
“In omnichannel, you have multiple channels, but you don’t have one piece of software, one version of the truth,” said Boston Retail Partners co-founder Ken Morris in an interview. “You have many versions of the truth. In the unified commerce world, it’s all connected in real time.”
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