“Unified Commerce” Demystified
October 23, 2017
This content was updated on December 6th, 2023
We live in a world where buzzwords are ever-changing. Terms like “the cloud” and “augmented reality,” which didn’t exist a few decades ago, are now heard every day. “Unified commerce” has also entered into our vernacular, but its true meaning is often misunderstood.
“Unified commerce” plays a significant role in consumer behavior. Having a single software system offers a way to enhance the shopping experience and keep customers coming back for more.
What Is Unified Commerce?
Unified commerce is the concept of having a single software system that is used to capture and manage orders that come in via a multitude of channels. Sound a lot like omni-channel commerce? It does, but the primary difference is that most companies conducting omni-channel sales are doing so through separate systems.
Unified commerce is about creating a cohesive customer profile and being able to see a holistic view of their purchasing behavior in a single database solution. One might think of it as the convergence of retail, CRM (customer relationship management), and branding.
If you place an order via phone or in-person, should your confirmation emails look like they come from two different places? Unified commerce would argue, “No they should not,” as that would not feel like a cohesive customer experience.
Just think of all the scenarios that are occurring today:
- You can place your Starbucks order via their mobile app so it would be ready when you walk in the door.
- You can order a case of wine to be shipped to your house and request a different delivery to a friend’s address.
- You can order dinner online and have it delivered via Uber Eats.
Consider the increasing prevalence of eCommerce. On average, consumers create about $514 billion in sales revenue each year for Amazon. The number continues to grow as online shopping increases in demand. Today, consumers expect to place orders via a variety of channels and have those orders fulfilled via a plethora of methods. It’s a buy anywhere, ship anywhere type of world now.
How a Single Platform Connects Everything
TrueCommerce offers a way to connect your customers, suppliers, channels, and systems. Each time a customer places an order, the information automatically transfers to the TrueCommerce network, which checks for alerts or exceptions and sends this information directly to your business system.
Anytime you want to update your storefront, the platform automatically syncs your pricing and inventory. These efficient updates allow you to reduce delays and errors.
Requirements of Unified Commerce Platforms
To utilize unified commerce most effectively, merchants should leverage a single database solution for online, phone, and in-person orders. They also need visibility into available inventory at various locations — if a product doesn’t live in a specific location, it’s much easier to determine fulfillment methods if you have this information readily available!
FAQs About Unified Commerce
Check out these common questions and answers:
What are the benefits of a unified commerce platform?
TrueCommerce’s integrated solutions provide the ability to:
- Sell everywhere: Our platform provides a way to connect storefronts and marketplaces to your business system.
- Streamline operations: We send information directly through your supply chain, eliminating manual processing.
- Keep inventory accurate: Our system automatically updates any changes you make to the inventory or pricing.
- Scale your growth: We reduce the amount of manual labor needed so you can keep up with seasonal order spikes and expand your business over time.
- Meet customer expectations: Our integrations provide a way to transfer information through the supply chain with more accuracy and speed, offering a way to meet expectations and build customer loyalty.
How does unified commerce impact retail workers?
Just think of the power that unified commerce gives to a person working on a retail floor:
- Better product recommendations and marketing: Once the customer is identified, the retail worker can see which products they have purchased most often across all channels so they can upsell with complementary product recommendations.
- Comprehensive history of loyal customers: They can see the lifetime value of the customer and their type so they can best determine if a good customer discount is in order.
- Shipping consistency and speed: If inventory visibility is active, they can offer shipping options if the desired item is out of stock. Can you imagine doing this using three or more different systems? Neither can I.
What are some alternatives for a single system?
Alternatively, you could use a single database solution with an open API that integrates orders and customers across all of your channels and funnels, and then into a central repository that could also give you a holistic view of your customer purchasing behavior.
This gets tricky though when dealing with available inventory since inventory might live in a multitude of ever-changing systems.
Contact the Team at TrueCommerce
At TrueCommerce, we are continuing to forge down a path that gives you the tools you need to turn unified commerce from a concept into your own reality. If you’d like to learn more about our single software systems, book a free demo today!
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