Unified Commerce: Definition, Importance, & Benefits

In this day and age, customers navigate many shopping channels – eCommerce sites, marketplaces, physical stores, and more. If the experiences between channels are disjointed, customers will likely go elsewhere. So, how do retailers create seamless experiences for their customers supported by streamlined processes on the backend? The answer: unified commerce. 

This guide defines unified commerce, explains its importance, differentiates it from omnichannel commerce, examines the components, and discusses the benefits. 

What is unified commerce?

Unified commerce is a business practice that integrates all of the backend systems with the customer-facing channels into a single, streamlined platform. In doing so, unified commerce aims to create a unified view of products, customers, and management solutions, allowing retailers to optimize operations. In addition to transforming the backend experience, unified commerce provides customers a personalized and engaging omnichannel shopping experience.

Is unified commerce necessary for my business?

Small businesses that only sell products in one place may be able to get by without unified commerce. However, few businesses fall into this category. More often than not, businesses of all sizes sell products and services in-store, on their own eCommerce site, through social media, and on marketplaces. 

Without unified commerce, these multichannel businesses have to manage the pricing, inventory, and promotions on each channel separately. This would be an immense amount of work and likely lead to errors and discrepancies that ultimately complicate and thwart the customer experience. In a time when customers need and expect a seamless shopping experience, unified commerce is vital to business success. 

Are omnichannel and unified commerce the same?

Omnichannel and unified commerce are typically conflated, as they both focus on the customer experience across channels. However, they differ in a key way. The omnichannel approach prioritizes short-term conversions through consistent experiences across channels, often stopping at front-end integration. Going a step further, the unified commerce approach prioritizes customer lifetime value (LTV) through complete system and data consolidation. 

What are the components of unified commerce?

  • Systems: The unified commerce model integrates all backend and customer-facing systems into one platform. The integrated systems can include eCommerce, product information management (PIM), content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), and more. Combining these disparate solutions improves operations and makes scaling as the business grows easier. 
  • Channels: When the customer-facing systems are integrated, all of the channels are united in a single platform, making it easier for the business to connect with shoppers everywhere they interact with the brand. Businesses can improve cross-channel buying journeys and fulfillment processes and gain insights into channel dynamics. 
  • Products: Customers expect consistency in their brand experience, regardless of where they interact with the products. A unified approach promotes consistency between eCommerce and in-store experiences. Also, it enables a smooth transition between them, should the customer want to purchase online and pick up in-store, for example. 
  • Customer Experience: The quality of the customer experience is paramount to the success of a retail business. With unified commerce, businesses can view customer experiences holistically, recognizing shoppers across touchpoints, gaining insight into their behavior, and improving their experience along the way. 

3 Key Advantages of Unified Commerce

  1. Improved Customer Experience: Unified commerce empowers businesses to remove friction from customer touchpoints and create a more personalized shopping experience for customers. With a frictionless experience, customers can easily locate and purchase products and services, increasing conversion rates, sales, and loyalty. 
  2. More Meaningful Business Insights: When business systems are siloed, it is nearly impossible to glean real-time insights into key metrics. All critical data points are collated with unified commerce, giving businesses deeper insight into inventory levels, sales data, and customer behavior. With real-time, actionable insights, businesses can improve inventory management, marketing, and sales strategies.  
  3. Increased Efficiency: A traditional siloed approach leads to redundancies, errors, and inefficiencies. With a unified commerce strategy, on the other hand, businesses have a single source of truth that is continually up to date. This allows businesses to provide higher quality service with less resources and effort, increasing efficiency and improving outcomes. 

Trust Encora for Your Unified Commerce Solutions 

Encora has a long history of delivering exceptional software engineering & product engineering services across a range of tech-enabled industries, leading the way with Retail & CPG Industry Solutions. Encora's team of software engineers is experienced with elevating digital experiences, optimizing product delivery, enhancing engagement and loyalty, developing smart inventory systems, and leading AI-driven customer support, which is why fast-growing tech companies partner with Encora to outsource product development and drive growth. We are deeply expert in the various disciplines, tools, and technologies that power the emerging economy, and this is one of the primary reasons that clients choose Encora over the many strategic alternatives that they have.

To implement a unified commerce solution, contact Encora today! 

Share this post