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Takeaway: The days of disconnected retail silos are numbered: 85% of retailers agree that unified commerce is a major priority for their businesses. So what exactly does this approach mean to you and your business? Here’s a hint: The consumer is central.
Quietly cropping up in many conversations about digital commerce and marketing over the past few years, the talk about unified commerce is now more of a rallying cry. Centralizing the point of sale around the individual consumer, and incorporating the systemic and technological changes unified commerce requires is a big, important job for meeting and surpassing consumers’ expectations.
But first, let’s back up a minute and understand what unified commerce means.
The individual consumer is the point of sale
There is one version of the truth, maintained in real time
Inventory availability is visible across all shopping channels, and each channel can pull inventory from the other as needed
Product content is uniform everywhere the consumer sees it
It’s easy to become bewildered by the ever-changing list of buzzwords. As a quick refresher, here are the high-level differences between distributed commerce, omnichannel, and unified commerce.
Distributed Commerce is a more modern interpretation of e-commerce that includes the ability for shoppers to purchase directly from blogs, social media, articles and other media, without being redirected to another website. Omnichannel is a view from the consumer standpoint, where the shopping experience across all channels appears to be seamless and consistent, even if the backend technology is siloed and maintained by channel.Unified Commerce encompasses both omnichannel and distributed commerce, and even the non-consumer-facing technology is centralized.
Today would be the appropriate time to assess if ‘channels’ still dominate the mentality and nomenclature of your company, with an eye on how the internal teams are structured, how the creative is completed, how product content is maintained, how the technology aggregates consumer details, and how inventory is managed. After all, ‘unified commerce’ is another way of saying ‘unified everything.’
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