Happy Unified Commerce Holidays
The holiday season is nearly upon us and, with the right tools and strategies in place, it’s a chance for retailers to end the rollercoaster year of 2020 on a high.
The retail world is being forced to react as shopping habits evolve quicker than they ever have before. Consumer expectations are shifting and – to be successful and stay ahead of the competition – retailers have to change with them.
How shopping behaviors are changing
Behaviours are changing across the board. eCommerce is exploding, mobile commerce is surging in popularity (App Annie predicts the biggest Q4 of mobile shopping in history), and BOPIS is essential for retailers (click and collect sales are up 60% on last year).
While digital channels are, understandably, experiencing huge growth, physical stores still have a vital role to play in successful retail. This role will continue to develop and evolve, however what’s clear is the pressing need for retailers to blend and unify their physical and digital experiences.
According to research from Adobe, 82% of BOPIS shoppers are likely to purchase additional items in store. In-store sales can also receive a boost from BOPIS orders when the store has empowered, knowledgeable associates who can suggest add-on purchase items. Not only does this help drive sales but also improves the customer experience.
The importance of BOPIS has been highlighted further – particularly in the UK – where the UK government announced ‘non-essential’ retailers could still offer a click and collect service even though stores will be shut from November 5 through to December 2.
As Howard Meitiner, managing director at Carl Marks Advisors and former president and CEO of Sephora USA, says in this article:
The winners are going to be those retailers who are going to accommodate the way the consumer wants to be accommodated.” Unified commerce is the only way retailers can deliver on Meitner’s ‘4 As of service’ – anytime, anywhere, anyplace, anyway.
Unified Commerce is essential
In a world of uncertainty and constantly shifting dynamics, consumer trust and loyalty are everything. According to Salesforce, 78% of customers expect consistent interactions across all sales channels and 4 out 5 consumers won’t buy from a brand they don’t trust. Furthermore, the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, published in late-June, found that, after price, the most critical factor in a customer’s purchasing decision is trust. A connected, personalized experience across all channels is vital to building this trust.
This is why unified commerce is the best gift retailers can give their customers this holiday season.
Unified commerce is when all sales channels exchange product, inventory, order and customer data in real time. With one truth and full transparency across all touchpoints, it means retailers can provide a unified experience for customers regardless of channel.
Retailers can instantly enhance and improve their customer experience by providing customer convenience across stock, purchase, payment, delivery and return, alongside harnessing the power of personalization with clienteling.
A cloud-native Unified Commerce Platform is the most effective, efficient, and the easiest way of making unified commerce a reality.
Store visits won’t quite be the same this year as they usually are during the holiday season but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to happen or that they should be neglected – far from it.
Store visits will be planned out and thought through with stores set to be busier on weekdays than they usually would be as consumers look to avoid crowds. Store visits are far less likely to happen at random. This means more in-store customers than usual will visit stores with a set purpose – they are actively looking to purchase something not just to browse.
For retailers, this is the perfect scenario to deliver a brilliant service, give the customer a fantastic experience and it further opens up the opportunities for cross-sell and upsell – all of which are made infinitely easier with unified commerce.
To summarize, in order to be successful this holiday season and into 2021, retailers should invest in technology and solutions that make true unified commerce a reality and help deliver better experiences (across all channels) to their customers.
Doing this will see an increase in trust and loyalty with a strong likelihood of repeat business, recommendations, positive reviews and ultimately increased sales.
If you’d like to learn more about all the benefits of a unified commerce platform and a Retail POS built with cloud-native technology, we’d love to speak to you.
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