A unified commerce strategy can bring together your business activities and create a better customer experience. But what does it mean for your retail business? We dive into the components of unified commerce.
Watch a video about unified commerce.
Friction free customer experience across channels
Unified commerce is about delivering flexibility and continuity across digital and physical channels to deliver a superior customer experience. This consistent mindset involves several phases of the customer’s purchase journey, including when a customer is searching, transacting, acquiring and consuming a product or service. In other words, it means that whatever journey the customers have taken or which touch points they have crossed prior to a purchase, their experience should remain the same, namely frictionless. But what activities and processes should be streamlined more specifically in order to be able to become a unified commerce business?
A business that drives unified commerce
Unified commerce consists of the components: channels, interactions, systems and products, which are illustrated in the model below. We now go in-depth with the various components and provide concrete examples of what your business needs to deliver in order to achieve a true unified commerce business.
Main components of unified commerce.
Retail customers should not encounter restrictions on any channel when investigating and purchasing items. The idea behind unified commerce is that customers get a satisfying customer experience regardless of whether they stay on the same channel or if they choose to change channels along the way. Retailers must, therefore, ensure that consumers can get the same experience in the form of products, prices and offers across channels. A customer must be able to find the same level of information in a brick-and-mortar store as they can on a company’s website.
Example: A customer sees a product on Instagram with a caption that says she gets a 10 percent discount by clicking on the link. When the customer clicks on the link, she adds products to her basket. In the shopping basket, she sees that the discount code has been applied.
The customer journey is far from a linear process. It is a journey on different channels, times and situations. As a retailer, it is therefore very difficult to predict consumer behavior. This is why it is extra important to record your customers’ interactions on one single platform covering all channels. If you equip your sales assistants with a mobile POS, they will e.g. have the opportunity to see purchase history and add loyalty points if you run a loyalty program.
Example: A customer buys a pair of headphones in your store and receives a digital receipt on the purchase. When the customer has returned to her home, she looks through the receipt. The receipt contains updated loyalty points and recommended products generated with Machine Learning. After watching a product video, she decides to make an extra purchase.
In order to achieve a harmonious integration of processes and systems, an ERP system is needed to unify financial management, orders, POS, inventory management, and statistics. In addition, it is necessary to have a POS system that can carry out sales and look up inventory. Digital systems such as e-commerce platforms must also be integrated. All of these systems must work together to enable companies to follow their customers from start to finish.
Example: A customer visits your web store and sees that a pair of boots in size 8 are in stock in your store. When the sales staff meets the customer, they verify that the boots are in stock via the POS system. With tools like RFID and Mixed Reality, you will achieve a properly counted inventory that ensures a great customer experience across systems.
Accurate product information is one of the most vital aspects of the customer journey. Coherent and identical product information across all levels helps create a comprehensive business design. This also applies to your sales staff. They should be armed with the same product information as your online channels. If you have product information gathered in the cloud, sales staff will also be able to access the information quickly and easily when they have the customer at hand.
Example: A customer has examined the internet for a new computer and has come up with a particular model that is in stock in your physical store. When the customer visits your business, he is greeted by well-informed sales staff who can help him with the needed information to complete the sale.
Transform your business in 2019
Do you want to meet your customers’ expectations of today’s in-store experience? In order to transform the user experience, it is important to look at the way you interact with your customers. In the world of technology, there has been a development of retail tools, which enhance the in-store shopping experience. You can learn more about the trends for the year 2019 here.
Want to learn more?
Do you want to learn more about the potential of having a unified commerce strategy? Contact us today and have a non-committal talk with one of our consultants. We might be helpful in transforming your business.