Unified commerce : going beyond omnichannel and perfecting the customer experience
Choice of sales channels today is multiplied and they are all used according to the preferences and availability of the customer. On the web, on mobile or more traditionally in physical stores, customers want to buy whenever they want without difficulty.
They want fluidity and, above all, coherence and consistency in their purchasing process. They now want to order their items via different tools and use them in a complementary way: from their phone, via the Web, or in-store.
To achieve this level of customer experience and satisfaction, companies are progressing and accessing several levels of digitalization and sales channel management. The unified commerce strategy ensures a centralized management of all sales channels so that the customer can switch from one channel to another while making a purchase, without noticing any difficulty.
Until the concept of unified commerce, here are the marketing and customer relationship evolutions that companies are experiencing:
Multi-channel initially allowed the user to buy according to his preferences and availability: go directly to the physical store or order from home on the online store. Each sales channel is distinct. For example it is not possible to order online and schedule delivery in store via Click-and-Collect.
In particular, this is the path that ready-to-wear companies have chosen to take, by developing an online sales site in addition to their brick-and-mortar business. In the opposite direction, pure player organizations (Amazon, Cdiscount, eBay, etc.) choose to open physical stores to increase their sales by covering a larger market.
The evolution of cross-channel is based on the principle that customers use several purchasing channels before making the final purchase. The customer is not an "only-channel" customer. Cross-channel corrects the weaknesses of multi-channel by allowing the customer to create his own bridges between the different sales channels. For example, it means going to the store to pick up an item ordered online, taking advantage of the complementary nature of the concept.
Omnichannel aims to completely remove the barriers that arise from cross-channel sales. The customer experience is put in the foreground since the company wants to unify the customer journey.
Therefore, interactive terminals and QR codes can be found in store, and salesperson can access the customer's purchase history and loyalty account on his or her tablet as soon as the customer enters the store. At home, customer can use their smartphone to flash an item seen in a catalog and buy it directly online.
From the evolution of the omnichannel concept the unified commerce strategy was born. With omnichannel ways businesses and customers use to interact are multiplied. They are both online and traditional ways. But, what customer does not see behind their smoothed out buying journey is the number of separate tools the company uses to deliver such a customer experience.
Unified commerce is the process of centralizing all sales channels so that company can track all of its business and control all of its inventory from a single platform.
With unified commerce, the customer experience is tracked and controlled from end to end. It is easier for the customer to interact with the company, retrieve their order or change shipping and delivery information. The company tracks all information about goods in storage or on the move in real time and derives KPIs that enable it to assess errors and rectify uncertainties.
Omnichannel allowed for the management of multiple sales channels via specific tools for each method. Unified commerce brings everything together in a single platform to achieve inter-connectivity and centralization of the information. This is how omnichannel is distinguished from unified commerce: all possible sales channels are organized and coordinated on the same platform.
Logically, using only one platform avoids many costly mistakes. It prevents the company from selling items that are no longer in stock because they have already been sold via another channel. Using the concept of unified commerce, even if several means are used for orders, the stock is managed uniformly from a single location.
The important thing to remember is that omnichannel and unified commerce compared to the old buying processes put the customer at the heart of their system. Only, unified commerce goes further and at the same time improves the enterprise experience and its ability to manage information flows that come from ever more channels.
Challenges in moving to unified commerce :
Monstock helps you automate and centralize your sales processes to reduce the time spent on your orders and improve the customer experience. Monstock's easy-to-use solution helps you orchestrate orders from all your distribution channels, both in-store and remote, to keep your customers loyal and satisfied.
With Monstock and the 360° order management, manage the different delivery modes: Click & Collect, home delivery, e-booking, etc.
For more information : contact the Monstock team.