Clientbook Blog
July 9, 2024

What is unified commerce?

Consumers want a seamless experience no matter where and how they shop these days. In order for retailers to provide that, it takes a unique business strategy with a centralized platform. 

An individual’s shopping journey has become a multi-faceted and diverse process these days. The retail experience must provide the same excellent customer experiences in brick-and-mortar stores, on the ecommerce shop, and in every other place the brand exists online. This is unified commerce

It integrates everything from a shopping cart to a store shelf to a social media post to an SMS marketing message and more. These audience-facing aspects intertwine with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing setups to create exactly what shoppers expect and brands need to succeed.

The evolution from omnichannel commerce to a unified approach

Omnichannel retail strategy integrates various shopping methods and platforms both online and off in a seamless experience for customers. It focuses on presenting the same brand identity and feeling to every consumer no matter where they come across it or what stage of the customer journey they’re on.

Unified commerce takes things even further. It uses omnichannel strategies for customers but also integrates business operations, communication, marketing, and more into the cohesive whole. It collects and uses real-time data to manage the experience from both sides and ends up making everything more streamlined and successful.

What does the unified commerce experience look like start to finish?

Instead of a straight line, it acts more like a complex yet highly controlled and strategically designed web of experience. There is no single platform to focus on. Instead, multiple sales channels blend with backend business goals in a way that fulfills customer demands and desires while allowing the brand to make informed decisions every step of the way.

The first time a customer comes in contact with the brand, their journey begins. They may stop in at a physical store location or click over to the ecommerce shop. Perhaps they find an enticing product on Instagram recommended by their favorite influencer. The instant any of these things happen, the company already starts collecting information about customer interactions and interests.

Unified platforms allow the customer to access their own journey just as much as the company does behind the scenes. They can look up past purchases on the brand app while browsing in a shop. They can return an item they bought online to a store using a digital receipt or customer records alone. Loyalty rewards come from all sources. Better still, the sales associates and online customer service team will instantly know all customer behaviors and past actions and be able to serve the individual better.

Benefits of unified commerce for retailers and customers

A better experience for customers and more informed business decisions. Unified platforms that manage every aspect of a retail brand make these things possible in highly efficient ways. 

The main benefit seems quite basic: you are able to provide everything the individual shopper wants no matter who they are or what their customer preferences are. The only way to do this well, however, is through a complex system that leverages real-time data to offer a deeper understanding of what works and what does not.

Retailers serve customers better and manage business more efficiently.

When you can see exactly what a specific customer wants, expects, and will probably do in the future on a user-friendly platform, you have the power to improve every aspect of your business. Track inventory levels, sales across all digital channels, the number of customers in stores, long-term customer loyalty, and the types of interactions and marketing messages that get the best results. Unified commerce platforms are a real source of truth you can count on for decision making and both short and long-term strategies.

Besides informing everything from how you should run your next social media marketing campaign to whether you should offer coffee or fresh-squeezed fruit juice at your next workshop, unified business management greatly minimizes errors, inefficient actions, and delays. Faster and better decisions mean more profit and less wasted time, effort, and money. It all comes down to the best way to meet and exceed customer expectations at every turn.

Consumers benefit from a seamless brand experience that builds loyalty.

Unified commerce allows for cross-channel purchases, easy access to loyalty programs, and simpler operations when paying, tracking shipments, or making returns. Everything they want to do to manage their relationship with your brand becomes easier and more accessible. They can take control of as much or as little of their experience as they want. Quick, easy, transparent, and rewarding relationships lead to happier buyers and create true brand ambassadors.

It takes more than convenience and efficiency to woo lifelong customers, however. People, especially those with an interest in luxury goods and high-end services, expect a personal touch that caters to their specific interests. Unified commerce makes this simple because personalization lies at the foundation of what it is. Consumers end up feeling like an important, integral part of the brand itself rather than a source of funding.

Best practices for implementing unified commerce

If your brand is up to date, you likely already have at least some omnichannel strategies in place. In order to make the step up to a truly unified commerce strategy, assess the current situation and integrate with new, more effective and efficient systems. Take the time to look into how you currently do things and the type of accessible data that drives decisions. Is it enough? What else do you need? Look especially hard at any aspects of business operations that you haven’t updated in a while.

The most important part of this is choosing the right platform. You need one that can handle everything seamlessly, so you do not have to worry about missing out on important details. 

Clientbook helps create a unified commerce experience for many types of retailers by providing a seamless platform for data collection, analysis, smart recommendations, customer relationship management, and marketing assistance. It blends all necessary details together and makes it easier for companies to manage everything. Best of all, it creates the ultimate positive shopping experiences for customers who expect convenience and care in every interaction. Book a demo to see it in action today.

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