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The Rise of Unified Commerce: The Buzzword of the Pandemic (and Why Businesses are Adopting it)

Hello there! If you are reading this, congrats!

You just made it through the first half of 2020.

Despite being dealt with a volley of neverending reverse cards, we have made it through forest fires, celebrity deaths, an epic pandemic of apocalyptic proportions, among other things.

More recently, Covid-19 has left many organizations unsure whether their risk mitigation is sufficient.

For the first time, infrastructure and services of established cloud companies were asked to stand up and be counted. #WorkFromHome became the norm of doing business for massives swathes of countries that went into lockdown, hoping to flatten the curve of the virus spread.

Never have so many businesses relied on technology to light the way through the darkness of physical distancing. Indeed, customers looked to it as the gateway to the outside world, transacting everything from food, clothing and cakes.

As businesses tried to adapt to new restrictions, there was one thing missing, the office.

Companies started to struggle as without a central database and instant access to their data, all disparate systems and business processes came to a grinding halt.

Covid-19 changed the way entrepreneurs and business owners looked at tech in the space of a 100 days.

Many enterprises were already implementing a multichannel approach to capitalize on sales from multiple outlets. However, integration of the brick and mortar model and an online model was needed to ensure they were providing a consistent and integrated experience across all online and offline outlets.

The Rise of Unified Commerce

Rather than focusing on increasing channels and integration alone, businesses started to adopt a new concept that brings together all the areas that impact the customer experience. Unified commerce emphasizes on greater visibility across the entire business, including inventory, staff, systems and channels—and how these moving parts merge to provide a 5-star customer journey.

In today’s e-commerce environment, consumers use an interconnected and often disparate series of interactions with different channels during their buying journey. Most of them expect their experience with all channels to be seamless. Over half of customers, however, currently encounter a disconnected online purchase experience across channels during their purchase journey.

Unified Commerce:
“The practice of providing flexibility, continuity and consistency across digital and physical channels to deliver a superior customer experience. This consistency includes multiple phases of the customer’s buying journey, including when a customer is searching, browsing for, transacting, acquiring and consuming a product or service.”

Unified commerce can be achieved when all aspects (inventory, sales, e-commerce, fulfillment etc.) of the retail business have visibility into one another. Through this approach, the customer can be seamlessly guided through their purchase journey due to the level of consistency and continuity.

This basically means that regardless of the journey the consumer has taken, or what touchpoints they’ve made to make a purchase, their customer experience should remain the same: frictionless.

For a business to truly become a unified operation, integration must also be achieved with digital systems such as e-commerce platforms, channel and marketplace management, cross-channel marketing, as well as accompanying order management and fulfillment capabilities.

This includes must- have infrastructure like point of sale systems, including purchase processing, inventory, customer data and even employee management capabilities.

Now what? What Steps Can You Take Toward A Successful Unified Commerce Strategy?

Building a unified commerce strategy is a process of getting the right solution for your business. With a multitude processes, entrepreneurs setting off on the unified commerce journey should keep a big picture view of the endgame.

What is the Endgame? Simple. To achieve the successful integration of frontend and backend processes and dramatically improving customer experiences.

A few steps you can act on now include:

  • Review your current customer experience journey and plan improvements. Don’t dive into unifying experiences across your business without first understanding what each of those experiences are. Take this time to also think critically about what their most suitable design would be.

  • Assess how much of your current technology is integrated to one another. Before dump your investments in any new platforms, you’ll need to investigate the potential impact on your other operational areas, and find out where your silos (isolated data/processes) are.

  • Take your data seriously. Data integrity is crucial to the success of unified commerce. But if you’re not already collecting, analyzing and leveraging insights learned from consumer data, then you need to take a step back, take a breath and focus on that first.

  • Ensure you have the necessary tech to start with. We know from the discovery sessions we have that many business owners still don’t even have Cloud databases, Cloud ERPs, E-commerce infrastructures or CRMs in place. These are foundational stones in a sound digitisation plan. If you have foundational stones still to lay in your organization, fill out a quick form and we’ll reach out to assist you.

Businesses with multiple sales channels must provide a consistent customer experience across each by building an instantly connected unified commerce strategy, which addresses how to align systems, channels, products and customer interactions to satisfy customer expectations.

“instantly connected” matters because the longer it takes for you to unify, the further behind your competitors and your customers’ expectations you’ll be.

The Time to Adapt is NOW.

“Customers use an increasing number of channels in their buying journey, which poses challenges for online sellers as they try to provide consistent experiences across each channel. Not only are customer-buying journeys more complex than in previous years, but customer expectations are also changing.” - Gartner


Fintech Rakyat is a Cloud Native Digital Transformation Provider based in Kuala Lumpur. We provide comprehensive unified commerce solutions that integrates product lifecycle, product maintenance, tracking order, track inventory, monitor shipping until it reaches the customer, and more, seamlessly across all platforms.

Let's discover a solution for you. Drop us a chat or fill up this form for a free discovery session today!

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