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Unified commerce: Omnichannel done right

Defining retail’s latest cross-channel term

Unified commerce is a term that is often used interchangeably with omnichannel, but there is a significant difference between the two. 

Omnichannel refers to the ability for customers to shop across multiple channels, such as online, in-store, and through mobile devices. 

Unified commerce takes this a step further by integrating all of these channels into a single platform, so that customers have a consistent experience no matter how they are interacting with the retailer.

Features of unified commerce technology

Unified commerce technology is a comprehensive approach to retail that integrates all aspects of the customer experience, from online to in-store. It goes beyond the basic functionality of traditional ecommerce platforms by providing a unified view of the customer across all channels, enabling retailers to deliver a more personalized and seamless shopping experience.

Some of the key features of unified commerce technology include:

A single view of the customer: Unified commerce platforms provide a single view of the customer across all channels, including online, in-store, and mobile. This allows retailers to track customer interactions across all channels and provide a more personalized experience.

Enhanced customer service: Unified commerce platforms can also be used to provide enhanced customer service. For example, retailers can use unified commerce platforms to provide live chat or video calls, make personalized recommendations based on 360-degree customer profiles, past purchases, and wishlists, and showcase products that aren’t physically in-store using endless aisle features.

Extended customer journey: Unified commerce platforms can also be used to extend the customer journey. For example, retailers can use unified commerce platforms to offer appointments, various fulfillment options (such as BOPIS, curbside pick-up, and BORIS), send post-purchase follow-ups, and facilitate cross-channel communications to keep their customers engaged even outside the store.

Unified commerce in action

In an omnichannel retail environment, a customer can walk into the store looking to purchase a pair of jeans, and when they realize they need a tall size, they can go to an associate for help. The associate can walk them over to the POS counter and look up the jeans via the SKU number and let them know that tall sizes are only available online. The customer would then have to leave the store and go home to order the jeans online, but at least they found their size right?

In a unified commerce environment, when the customer asks about the tall sizes, the associate can look up the product on their iPad and see that while it is only available online, they can order it right there for them. The customer can then also scroll through the online-exclusive colors and find the navy they were actually looking for, rather than the dark blue they were settling for. This is just one example of how unified commerce improves the customer experience, beyond what omnichannel is capable of.

Bringing it all together

Unified commerce is a more advanced form of omnichannel retailing that integrates all aspects of the customer experience, from online to in-store. 

It provides a single view of the customer across all channels, enabling retailers to deliver a more personalized and convenient shopping experience that also empowers them to drive sales.

Learn more

To get more insights like this about unified commerce along with personalization, customer engagement, mobility, and the role of the point-of-sale (POS) system check out this webinar The State of Retail Technology: Insights from the 24th Annual POS and Customer Engagement Report.

With nearly 4 decades of combined industry experience, Tulip’s Ashley Barby and Retail Consulting Partners’ Ryan Grogman host a fire-side chat to delve into the trends reshaping the retail landscape and the priorities retailers have to future-proof their operations using real-world examples. 

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