Unified Commerce: The New Retail Revolution

“Unified Commerce” is the new buzzword of retail. Simply put, it means that consumers want their in-store and online transactions to flow seamlessly. According to a new survey by Ayden, in-store experiences are still vital to consumers, but they would like them to complement their activities online. In fact, 63 percent of the 2,000 participants said that they would spend more if services were delivered to them such as: buy online and return in-store, mobile payments, payment method recall, and seamless transaction lookup.

In a society that is based on forming connections and lasting relationships between merchants and consumers, unified commerce is a critical part of retail’s future. In fact, according to the National Retail Foundation, it is soon going to become a standard strategy of every store. Consumers appreciate the convenience and flexibility, and they are going to come to expect it where they shop.

Not only is it an approach that benefits consumers, but it contains tremendous benefits for merchants as well. Merchants require a system that is shared between online and their physical locations to enable them to see order history and saved payment methods, as well as offer mobile payments and flexible refunds.  Although it requires some initial research and investment costs, the benefits are tremendous:

Efficiency-Powered Savings
A unified approach allows businesses to manage their inventories more effectively between in-store and online, as well as between the various locations. This technique keeps costs lower by ensuring that inventory is maximized and that consumers are less likely to find items out-of-stock and walk. Additionally, operations will be more efficient and require less time and resources.

Customer-Fueled Loyalty
By maintaining one system that keeps track of all transactions, loyal customers can be recognized and be provided with the higher level of service that they deserve across channels. This system can increase customer loyalty to the brand and repeat purchases. A client that is given VIP service at a retailer is likely to return there again and again for that experience.  Not only that, but they will eventually become brand ambassadors by sharing their positive interactions with their network and encouraging them to shop there as well.

Employee-Based Success
By providing employees with comprehensive product information and reports, employees have the tools to offer better recommendations to consumers and increase sales.  Another benefit is that customers can be offered promotions across channels to increase purchases, promote specific products or deliver targeted offers.

The benefits are numerous, and it is only a matter of time before consumers become blasé about this approach. It is clear that the early adopters are the ones that will reap the most from unified commerce by gaining a competitive advantage, and it is quite simple to implement with the right provider.  There are POS systems that can help businesses offer synchronized purchasing to their customers between their online and in-store channels. However, it is essential to have a payment provider that specializes in both in-store and online payments. With 21 years of industry experience, Fidelity Payments can help merchants embrace unified commerce in a secure, efficient, yet simple manner.