In the fourth quarter of 2020, ecommerce sales reached an all-time high of 17% of the total retail sales in the United States, as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This was the steepest increase on record since reporting began in 2013, and could be attributed to the negative impact of COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar sales. However, the past two years have continued to show a consistent increase in online retail sales.
Businesses have been looking for ways to understand these new customer shopping habits and meet customer shopping expectations. Many businesses have begun to implement omnichannel ecommerce strategies with the help of robust, cloud-based ecommerce platform service providers.
Recently, the concept of unified commerce has become the next buzzword in the retail world, but how does it relate to furniture ecommerce? Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about unified commerce and how an open architecture can allow for a seamless shopping experience for your customers and a comprehensive approach to managing customer data behind the scenes.
What Is Unified Commerce?
According to Forbes, unified commerce is defined as, “a strategy that centralizes the data you've collected about customers and products on a single platform.” The theory is that you can have data pulled from multiple touch points, store them in one place, and view them from a centralized platform. This means that the back-end and front-end components of your business systems, as well as all of your customer touchpoints, are all interconnected.
Unified Commerce and Omnichannel Ecommerce
A traditional omnichannel approach focuses on offering a seamless shopping experience for consumers, whether they're shopping online from a desktop or mobile device or in a brick-and-mortar store.
Unified commerce takes this one step further, aggregating the data collected across these channels and making it available to inform a retailer’s sales, marketing, merchandising, planning, and reporting processes. The goal of unified commerce is to streamline and consolidate business operations across your business including:
- Payment systems
- Product information
- Customer interactions
- And more…
How To Get Started With Unified Commerce Solutions
Many “Unified Commerce” vendors are selling a single suite of software that is unified primarily in that it comes from one company.
The disadvantage of this approach is that it typically requires a business to uninstall or remove all current systems and applications and replace them with a new, monolithic suite of software, which is both a lot of work and potentially risky.
Additionally, businesses become reliant on one provider to provide the “best” solution for every component of their offering, something increasingly difficult for a single provider to do. For example, it’s unlikely the best POS provider for your business also has the best ecommerce solution - the rate of change in both areas is simply too much for a single company to keep up with.
Thankfully, there’s an alternative. Newer “open” Cloud architectures allow applications to share data through APIs, making it easy to assemble best-in-class solutions from multiple providers and unifying your data (the ultimate goal of Unified Commerce) through Cloud protocols. You can keep the solutions you have that work, add new ones, and rely on the Cloud to provide the unified view of the result that makes Unified Commerce so powerful.
Blueport’s omnichannel ecommerce platform has an open Cloud architecture which allows for a unified experience without having to alter your current systems and applications. With integrations designed specifically for furniture ecommerce businesses, customers can shop seamlessly between your online channels and brick-and-mortar stores and you’ll get the unified data that will help inform every aspect of your business.
Advantages of a Unified Commerce Strategy
With a unified commerce strategy in place, your furniture business can:
- Manage inventory effectively across all systems.
- Have seamless communication between your teams.
- Reduce pricing inconsistencies and other errors.
- Experience superior data collection and usage.
- Provide a superior customer experience with end-to-end personalization.
Bridging the gap between unified commerce and omnichannel, Blueport offers a unique approach to omnichannel that allows for a unified strategy model that adapts and grows to meet your business needs.
Ready for an Effective Unified Commerce Solution?
Effective growth strategies rely on effective technology solutions. Are you ready to learn how Blueport provides both a seamless shopping experience for your customers and a comprehensive approach to managing customer data for you?
Contact us today. Our team is ready to answer all your questions and help you position your business for success.