According to the 2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, 81 % of retailers will deploy unified commerce platforms by 2020. This percentage is no surprise to those who were paying attention: the ways consumers acquire goods and services has changed, and so did their expectations. Paired with the technology advancements in recent years, as well as the entrance of disruptive players such as Amazon, the traditional retail model has little to do with today’s reality.
But if there’s anything we know about retail, it’s that it always adapts. Just look at the ways it has expanded throughout the years: first it became multichannel, meaning retailers started selling through many sales channels which were all handled in different ways. Then retail became omni-channel and focused on creating a cohesive branding and user experience across its various channels. But this wasn’t enough: despite the seeming consistency, integrations between channels were often patched together, had data discrepancies and delays.
And that’s when unified commerce entered the scene. A unified commerce platform combines in-store POS, mobile, web, order management, call center and clienteling into one integrated platform. It’s become a retail must for a reason – all information is shared from a single database. This means you can give real-time, transparent, reliable product details at all times, on all touchpoints. And this is incredibly important: Gartner reports that 89% of retail businesses believe that by 2020 most competition will be centered around the quality of the customer experience.
So what are the main advantages of a unified commerce platform? It is a complete end-to-end retail software solution that allows management to have a centralized, real-time overview of their business operations. This allows them to make informed, timely decisions for every sales channel their company operates in.
This type of software can be integrated with other solutions, such as e-commerce stores, business intelligence tools and others. Unified commerce platforms allow you to keep a detailed purchase history across the enterprise, provide the same product information on all channels and easily manage returns. Last but not least, unified commerce platforms are flexible and can be deployed on-prem, in the cloud or as a hybrid – with every option having a low cost of ownership.
It truly is impossible to downplay the significance of unified commerce platforms in today’s retail landscape. But before a business makes a decision about which one is best for their operations, it’s important to be as familiar as possible with its functionalities. We at Intelligent Systems are an LS Retail Gold Partner with more than 40 retail clients and years of experience. Here are some resources for retailers looking for a unified commerce platform:
- Choose the right retail solution: a 3-day assessment by our consultants
- Webinar: Transforming Retail Business With A Unified Commerce Platform (the basis for this article)
Or you can contact our sales representatives for any questions you might have.