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unified commerce Omnichannel is not enough, you must achieve Unified Commerce

In the last months, buying online has become a necessity for many business buyers to get access to basic necessities. Habits have changed, creating users who are increasingly able to move between different buying channels, online and offline.

It will therefore be necessary to rethink user experience, aiming to perfectly integrate offline with all online channels. A user experience that allows a continuous conversation with the customer on any touchpoint. Welcome, Unified Commerce.

What is Unified Commerce?

Unified Commerce puts the customer experience at the center of the purchasing process, from information search to delivery, through purchase, payment and customer service. It is a way to redesign organizational models, commercial and technological processes, centralizing the collection of information in order to simplify the user experience and make it increasingly barrier-free.

In essence, it is about being able to provide customers with a unique brand experience that is independent of the channel used for the purchase, an experience that is able to provide customers with what they want, when they want it, how they want it and delivered wherever they decide.

For Unified Commerce, therefore, it becomes essential to have a centralized and real-time platform, with the aim of bringing together all sales channels, both offline and online, integrated with data from logistics, in real time.

How does Unified Commerce differ from Omnichannel commerce?

Omnichannel strategies certainly talk about creating a consistent customer experience across all sales channels, but delivery is not always up to it. Why not? The truth is that traditional systems are not able to keep up with today's commerce environment. Most manufacturers or wholesalers continue to manage stand-alone systems for each channel. Information is collected separately, and cannot be shared without considerable investment in integration.

Some things are often lost then, leading to inconsistent and inaccurate data sets that make it virtually impossible to provide the valuable experience users demand.

Unified Commerce offers a solution to this problem, bringing all sales channels into one centralized platform to eliminate confusion and ensure, in real time for all touchpoints, that all information is available to everyone when they need it.

What are the benefits of a Unified Commerce approach?

Customers don't think for separate shopping channels, so brands should do the same. Think about delivering an experience that integrates the best of both online and offline shopping whether it's desktop, mobile or in-store.

Take advantage of the opportunity to offer contextual shopping - it should be possible to shop anywhere: on the site, in store or via traditional sales reps coming to your office. 

Faster and more efficient returns management - Centralized information management allows you to cross-reference product data with payment, offer in-store returns or collection at home more easily and especially faster. In the case of returns, the speed of response and the offer of more alternatives make the user experience more enjoyable.

If you are active on international markets, offering a whole set of payment methods is crucial. Providing choices makes the foreign user feel more at home, and comfortable users buy more! With unified commerce, buyers can easily complete their purchase by choosing the payment method that best suits their needs.

Unified Commerce is the next evolutionary step after Omnichannel Commerce. A step forward, towards a user who lives a hectic life full of social interaction. Buyers increasingly appreciate those firms which are able to adapt to their needs without ever losing sight of the quality of both products and services offered.

This article was first published by our trusted partner in Italy, SMC Consulting.