Artisan's Rob Harbols recently shared with Forbes how retailers can win in the continuous race against changing customer expectations. As the rate of change continues to increase, retailers must position themselves to pivot quickly. As Harbols says, "the agility to keep up with the speed of change now overshadows the importance of anyone change or market disruption." The more digital technology advances, the more retailers need systems and processes that allow for rapid change while maintaining consistency.
To do this, enterprises must maintain a customer-first approach that extends across the company - from the organizational culture to the backend infrastructure. While retailers may have gotten away with separate in-store and online experiences in the past, today's customers will not put up with disjointed experiences. Customers expect a seamless shopping experience regardless of which channel they use, which means retailers must unify the customer journey and present one cohesive brand. Unified Commerce is the key to providing ultimate flexibility for customers while maintaining a consistent experience and allowing the enterprise to shift quickly with changing expectations.
Unified Commerce is commonly defined as the practice of providing flexibility, continuity, and consistency across digital and physical channels to deliver a superior customer experience. While a traditional Omnichannel approach uses external systems to connect business functions, a Unified Commerce model prioritizes connectivity and requires a technical structure that unites data and systems across the enterprise.
Similar to a wagon wheel or a hub-and-spoke model, Unified Commerce centers around customer data and enables all touch points (like eCommerce, in-store point of sale, and email marketing) to extend out from a single, unified view of the customer. This type of model connects all systems and enables retailers to respond quickly to changes in customer and business needs.
Unified Commerce has many benefits. For example, a hub-and-spoke model allows retailers to maintain consistency even though customer preferences come in an endless number of combinations. Additionally, a Unified Commerce model creates fertile soil for innovation. When all systems are unified on a single platform with customer data at the center, introducing a new channel or "spoke" is much easier than layering it on top of a disjointed infrastructure.
Harbols shares how Unified Commerce can empower retailers to match, or even exceed, the dizzying speed of disruption and today's customer expectations. To read the full article, visit Forbes.com.
Artisan and Broadleaf Commerce recently published an in-depth white paper on Unified Commerce. You can download it here or watch the corresponding webinar. If you'd still like to learn more about Artisan's digital commerce approach, please reach out.