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Article CX Multichannel

Goodbye Omnichannel, Hello Unified Commerce

It’s always nice to see real progress that empowered by technology …. but driven by a truly customer centric view of competitiveness.

In its latest annual report, Macy’s has changed the game by calling itself an “omnichannel retail organization that operates stores and websites”. While that might seem like semantics, it’s actually a critical mindset shift that can mean the difference between leadership and simply competing.

The funny thing is that Macy’s self description is actually a bit short of where true retail transformation is heading.

You can’t hide what’s going on behind the scenes.

More and more retailers are trying to take shortcuts in the providing the right omni channel customer experience. While it might seem to be progress when a shopper can shop online and choose either home deliver or to pick it up in store, that’s only part of the challenge. The real question is how tightly integrated the inventory, merchandising and messaging is between the different channels.

I can recall upteen times when the online shopping site of major retailers showed in-store inventory, only to find that there was none upon arrival at the store shortly there after. That’s just one example of how the omnichannel effort has a long way to go.

The question is whether retailers are best served by a gradual or rapid transition to what is now being termed unified commerce.

An Integrated Approach

Unified commerce implies an integrated approach at the backend of retailing that layers multiple channels of customer facing platforms on top of a single integrated system for inventory, shipping, pricing and marketing / messaging.

Without that level of integration, customers become aware of a less than complete omnichannel capability. That is the starting point of a decay in the brand connection that the new connected shopper feels to a retailer.

Key hallmarks of unified commerce that take it beyond simply more platforms:

Real time

Single centralized inventory

Personalized pricing and messaging

Fully trained teams capable of utilizing and executing on the unified platforms promise.

Nov 22, 2014  

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