85% of Retailers Indicate Unified Commerce is their Top Priority for 2016, According to Boston Retail Partners’ Survey

2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey Indicates Many Retailers are Struggling with “Faux” Omni-channel Approaches that Need Improvement

Boston, MA – January 18, 2016 – The always connected consumer has the ability to shop where they want, when they want and how they want – all from their mobile device. According to a new survey by Boston Retail Partners (BRP), retailers recognize the need to create a holistic customer experience that transcends channels, but most attempts are falling short.

2016 POS Survey CoverAccording to the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, 85% of the respondents indicate that unified commerce is their top priority. Many retailers have taken the “just get something done” approach to deliver a seamless customer experience that transcends channels. The unfortunate result of this quick fix approach is a “faux” omni-channel model that doesn’t execute as promised and has the risk of disappointing customers. While 60% of retailers indicate they have implemented “inventory visibility across channels,” 80% of those retailers indicate that the system “needs improvement.” According to another recent study, this is a real issue, as 60% of click-and-collect orders placed on Cyber Monday had problems.[1]

“Many retailers are realizing that the future of POS is part of a unified commerce platform that hosts a single shared cart across all channels and is integrated with order management,” said Brian Brunk, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “This is the game changer as it is fundamentally changing how retailers think about POS and driving much of the activity we are seeing in the solution marketplace.”

“Saddled with legacy systems that are not designed to accommodate today’s retail environment, retailers have scrambled to cobble things together in attempts to deliver the omni-channel capabilities customers expect,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “Retailers need to invest in infrastructure, networks and service oriented architecture (SOA) layer and do it right. The risk of losing customers due to disappointing shopping experiences caused by a flawed omni-channel architecture is deadly and that is why “real” unified commerce is retailers’ top priority for 2016.”

Boston Retail Partners’ 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current point of sale and customer engagement initiatives, priorities, and future trends as the physical and digital worlds converge within the store.

Key findings in the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey include:

  • Creating a true unified commerce environment is the top priority – 85% of retailers indicated this was a top priority for 2016
  • Improving customer engagement and the customer experience is critical – 68% of retailers indicated this was a focus for the upcoming year
  • Retailers are still occupied with payment/data security – 38% of retailers stated this was a top priority

To download the complete 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, visit:

The 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey sponsors are Manhattan Associates (platinum), Aptos (gold), Demandware (silver), Omnico (silver) and UTC Retail (silver).

About Boston Retail Partners

Boston Retail Partners (BRP) is an innovative and independent retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience & Engagement | Order Management
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Information Technology | Private Equity

For more information on BRP, visit


[1] “Buy online, pick-up in the Store. Simple, right? Not this Christmas,” Washington Post, December 20, 2015.