What Is a Unified Commerce Platform?
The retail industry is booming thanks to the increasing number of ways consumers can shop and access goods. While this provides more ways to reach consumers, many retailers face challenges managing different retail channels across multiple platforms. Doing so makes providing a seamless customer experience more difficult. Unified commerce platforms simplify supply chain management and improve customer experiences.
Learn more about unified commerce and how these platforms can improve your operations.
What Does Unified Commerce Mean?
Unified commerce is the technical term for connecting all a business's backend and systems to its customer-facing channels. For example, unified commerce allows businesses to connect their e-commerce, shipping carriers, mobile commerce, and customer relationship management systems into one centralized platform. Having all your channels connected gives you a steady flow of the same information across channels, which is extremely beneficial for gaining insight into customer and product data.
One of the goals of unified commerce is to develop personalized shopping experiences for consumers. Having all your channels connected creates a smoother customer experience while providing data and insights on how to improve the customer experience further. For example, consumers expect that shopping through any of your channels should be the same, whether online, over the phone, or in person. Unified commerce makes it possible and easy to share information across channels seamlessly, ultimately making the shopping experience what your consumers think it is.
Unified Commerce vs. Omnichannel
Omnichannel is the sales approach that preceded unified commerce. It integrated distribution, promotion, and communication on the backend. This was one of the first steps toward providing consumers with a seamless shopping experience regardless of where they're shopping from. Omnichannel allowed customers to switch through multiple communication channels throughout their interaction with a business, which was a huge step forward in improving customer service.
For example, a customer could access a company's website on their desktop to check inventory by store location, purchase the product on their phone or tablet later, and then pick up the item at their chosen location. The backend connection through omnichannel allows different store locations to update their inventory online for customers to see and pickup where they left off on different devices. It also enables stores to fulfill various types of orders regardless of how they're placed.
Omnichannel appears to act as a single unit, though in reality, the different functions and data of these channels are typically out of sync, which causes confusion. For example, a customer asks a store associate to check inventory for a product. The product is out of stock in the store, though online stock indicates there's one item in stock. Without real-time connection and data, the store associate won't know the product's true availability. This situation often results in unfulfilled customer orders, making the customer experience frustrating.
Unified commerce remedies the downfalls of omnichannel. Fully connecting your backend operations with your customer-facing channels allows for a transparent, accurate, and consistent experience across all channels.
What Does a Unified Commerce Platform Do?
A unified commerce platform is software that makes connecting your channels possible. These platforms give you a centralized place to sell, manage, and analyze data. Unified commerce platforms provide real-time unified cross-channel management and data. For example, you can manage inventory across channels, unify product information and adjustments in real time, and unify customer and order data across channels.
Benefits of a Unified Commerce Platform
Unified commerce platforms are an extremely beneficial tool for any business. You'll start seeing these benefits when you use a unified commerce platform to connect your business channels.
Simplified Data Analysis
With cross-channel data collected in one place, you can easily track insights. Whether you're tracking revenue over a specific period or customer interactions with certain products, your unified commerce platform makes accessing and analyzing the data simple so you can make the necessary adjustments and keep your business growing.
Unified commerce platforms allow for smooth integrations. Since all your channels across several platforms can now be combined into one platform, you'll save the time you spent managing integrations between platforms. Unified commerce allows you to create seamless integrations across channels because everything works together as a single system.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
As we've mentioned before, unified commerce increases your customer's satisfaction. Because these platforms simplify processes on the business end, you're able to provide easier experiences for your customers. Unified commerce platforms give you the customer data necessary to anticipate their needs.
For example, if a customer submits a customer service request online and then decides to call your service line, the customer service representative can easily find the customer's request and continue it through the phone for a seamless experience.
Unified commerce platforms help improve efficiency across your business model. For example, you can view your inventory in real time, making your store associates more efficient on the floor and allowing you to order restocks proactively. With improved efficiency, you'll be able to grow your business more effectively.
What to Look for in a Unified Commerce Platform
Finding the right unified commerce platform can significantly affect how quickly you'll see changes and how much you have to restructure your current operations. Here are a few specific features to look for in a unified commerce platform:
- Integrations: A unified commerce platform should allow you to integrate the necessary channels to make your operations successful. From marketplaces to 3PL fulfillment centers, you need a platform that allows you to immediately integrate your existing channels and add integrations as your business grows.
- Inventory management: Inventory management is crucial to any unified commerce platform. Look for a platform that offers advanced management software and in-depth order statuses.
- Insights: Find a unified commerce platform that allows you to view insights that will help you increase your profits, make informed business decisions, and grow your business.
- Individualized attention: When looking for a unified commerce platform, pay attention to what you'll get from the provider. You want a platform backed by an experienced team of professionals that will give you individualized attention and support to provide a seamless solution for your business.
Choose Verte's Unified Commerce Platform Today
As a retailer, you need competitive, cutting-edge technology that drives success, simplifies processes, and improves your customers' experiences. With Verte's Unified Commerce Platform, you can manage your inventory, integrations, insights, and so many more aspects of your business from one place in real time. We'll help you connect the dots between your channels to increase visibility throughout the product journey.
Contact us today for more information about our Unified Commerce Platform and other supply chain solutions.