Over the past year, many consumer goods and retail companies have rapidly developed and perfected their omnichannel strategy. But when it comes to optimal customer satisfaction, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In my view Unified Commerce represents the ultimate integration across all channels, providing consumers with a personalised and streamlined experience anytime, anywhere. In this blog post, I’ll therefore explore the four factors essential to achieving this. 

Order online with delivery to your door, click and collect, order in store with delivery to your door: the customer relationship today has many layers and takes many forms, and digitisation plays a prominent role. The Covid-19 crisis has fuelled that trend and increased the focus on e-commerce. 

Most vendors have already taken action in the past year. They’ve accelerated their online activities and upped the number of sales channels and customer touchpoints. But investing in platforms, tools and technologies is only half the battle. The art of Unified Commerce lies in optimally tuning all channels to the same wavelength and integrating them into a seamless whole. When you achieve this, your customer experiences every interaction with your company as part of a single consistent story. By removing internal silos, your organisation also becomes transparent and more efficient. In other words, Unified Commerce is the ultimate goal of an omnichannel approach. 

4 success factors towards unified commerce 

Regardless of the size of your company or its activities, there are four keys to success in implementing Unified Commerce: 

  1. Commerce and business processes 
    Unified Commerce is more about business processes than technology choices. Integrating the big picture is crucial. Therefor production, supply chain, sales and every other department should all be focused on providing the optimal customer experience.  66% of online purchasers choose a retailer based on convenience, while only 47% choose a retailer based on price/value. (Source: Catalyst: The state of e-commerce 2021) 
  2.  Product experience management
    A great customer experience starts with an engaging product experience. That’s why I think it’s important to offer consistent product information across all points of contact. Innovative technologies such as VR and 3D visualisations can enrich this information and display it in a more versatile and dynamic way. A crucial factor here is digital asset management – the efficient organisation and management of digital content and assets. 
  3.  Omnichannel service design
    In 2020, goods bought online globally grew by 24%, while stored-based sales declined by 7%. (Source: Forbes). Personalised and streamlined online and offline processes throughout the customer journey lead to increased conversion and more efficient and reliable customer activation. 
  4.  Unified Supply Chain
    Your supply chain must dovetail with the promises you make to the consumer. To this end, it’s important to optimise your stock allocation and distribution and to fine-tune the delivery process. A sophisticated and data-driven distribution strategy, supported by accurate forecasts, makes a huge difference. 

The data dimension within Unified Commerce 

There is one big constant in these four success factors, and that is data management. From various previous projects I have learned that collecting, purifying and interpreting data in the correct way are at the core of a successful Unified Commerce approach. To achieve this you have to create an information-centric culture at all levels of your business, which will also create added value in your back-office transactions. 

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