Omnichannel and the Final Frontier of Commerce
E-commerce continues to be a dominant figure in retail viability; according to a recent report from Boston Retail Partners, 85 percent of retailers expect an increase in 2016 e-commerce website revenue. Retailers must create a seamless, holistic shopping experience in order to appeal to the present-day, multi-channel consumer – all in real time. Whether you take the term omnichannel seriously or not, there’s one undeniable fact: digital commerce has put the power back into the consumer’s hands.
Successful retailers know they have to move beyond just “having a good website” to a model that subtly reaches consumers in every facet of their digital lives. Customers are able to compare products and prices online, read peer reviews, receive instant feedback, and shop using any device. In order to evolve, retailers must concurrently meet customers in their homes, at the office, even on the treadmill at the gym – going beyond omnichannel, to a unified commerce experience empowered by efficient digital experiences.
Omnichannel Becomes Unified Commerce
The retail industry has always come down to survival of the fittest – and most adaptable – but in this age of mobility, it’s truly the survival of the seamless. According to Boston Retail Partners, 78 percent of retailers plan to implement a unified commerce platform in the next five years, and 31 percent of retailers list consistency of brand experience across channels and improving the customer experience as their top priorities.
But how do we get there? At the heart of unified commerce is the ability to manage updates and operations across desktop, mobile and mobile applications with a single commerce platform. One central console for all transactions, inventory, order management and so on.
Retailers realize that they can no longer operate from within silos, and the convergence of digital and physical commerce is now a retail imperative. Unified commerce is the evolution of omnichannel, further enabling retailers to personalize the experience to a customer based on his or her digital footprint, under one platform and in real time. We are currently at a turning point in this evolution, and actions like incorporating order management systems into eCommerce platforms will help retailers stay ahead of the curve.
Industry Focus: Sporting Goods
The importance of unified commerce is universal, but there are particular industries where it is a necessity. The sporting goods industry, for example, was hugely impacted by the introduction of e-commerce. In fact, 50 percent of research and transactions for sporting goods occur online. Gone are the days when you had to drive to the nearest REI or Dick’s Sporting Goods to pick up a pair of cleats – now they are just a click and an overnight shipment away.
More retailers are adopting same-day shipping and “buy-anywhere, ship-anywhere” policies that incentivize online shopping. The competition is stiff, but sporting goods retailers who adopt a unified commerce platform are proven to be more successful than those who have not. Choosing a platform that provides a seamless digital experience, including an order management system that accounts for online and in-store purchases, is not only impactful to their bottom line – it’s essential to their survival.
Jason Wallis is the chief technology officer at Mozu and helped to build and define the architecture that is the foundation for the flexible and modern cloud eCommerce platform. Jason is a software developer at his core, owning a strong passion for crafting technology and software that drives business growth. He brings almost 20 years of experience to Mozu. Jason believes that customers’ needs should drive the direction of a technology platform.