Unified commerce is the future, and it’s driving retailers to transform the way they operate so they can deliver seamless, engaging experiences to their customers–experiences that transcend channels and unify all aspects of their business. To make that happen, retailers need to break down organizational and data siloes, and bring them all together so they can gain one single view of each customer and react to their needs.
Unified commerce is all about creating the seamless shopping experience your customers expect and demand. Instead of adding to the war between online and in-store shopping, look how to consolidate them into one experience. Consumers want both online and in-store shopping, and it’s completely possible to provide them a seamless shopping experience across both fronts. Even though the online shopping experience is not the same as shopping in-store, they can complement and enhance each other if they’re seamlessly interconnected.
Bringing everything together
To do this, retailers must adopt agile approaches that truly integrate all consumer-facing channels–physical, web, social and mobile. Naturally, this will require making some considerable changes to your business. Most retailers still use disparate systems to handle all of their operations, from inventory to point-of-sale. These systems aren’t necessarily legacy, but they typically silo their data, which makes it impossible to connect the information in real-time.
The answer to achieving true unified commerce relies on the ability to consolidate all of your data and store it in one centralized place. It’s only with a unified commerce solution that retailers can see the full picture for each consumer.
With this information, you can easily compile the data to your business’ advantage to deliver the complete shopping experience consumers now expect. But since this data is all in one place, wouldn’t be easier to utilize intelligent analytical tools from the same platform, keeping everything still in one place? Most platforms with these tools base the tools in the cloud. So even if you choose not to host all of your data in the cloud, you will need to consider having some data footprint within it to get the insights you need, even if it’s just yesterday’s metadata. Using these tools, you can begin to extract the data you need and generate clear, understandable reports that will help you to truly understand your business, allow you to make informed decisions, and take effective action.
Can’t we build our own unified commerce solution?
Of course, you may choose to build your unified commerce data platform by yourself and host it in your own data centers. However, homegrown solutions are unlikely to match cloud-based platforms in terms of speed, cost, and scalability. You may also prefer to build the analytics tools yourself, but sophisticated cloud-based tools are already available and are far quicker and less costly to get up and running.
If you’re unsure of the best way forward, now is the time to address your concerns about unified commerce and the cloud, and look at the facts about homegrown solutions:
“Isn’t a unified commerce strategy full of complications and cost?”
If you have separate best-of-breed systems, each with their own database, then yes, it is full of complications. But if you choose a unified commerce platform, it is not.
“How can I make use of all this data? Do I need data scientists on staff to help me analyze and understand it?”
Only if you build your own data warehouse. If you choose a system that supports intelligence and analytics right out of the box, then you will not.
“Do I need architects to design and build this system so I can gather and integrate the data into one cloud service?”
Yes, if you build your own, but if you choose a system that is already in the cloud, like LS Central, you will not.
We have experts at the ready to help you bring a cloud-based unified commerce system to your retail business. Ready to get started? Contact us at any time!