Stibo Systems - The Master Data Management Company

What is Unified Commerce? Key Advantages & Best Practices

Master Data Management Blog by Stibo Systems logo
| 6 minute read
March 22 2022

In today's fast-paced digital world, consumers are increasingly demanding convenience, personalization and a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels. To meet these evolving expectations, businesses are turning to unified commerce, a transformative approach that breaks down the barriers between online and offline retail. Unified commerce brings together the best of omnichannel strategies, technology integration and customer-centricity to create a cohesive and frictionless shopping journey.

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of unified commerce, its benefits and its potential to revolutionize the way businesses engage with customers. We will delve into how unified commerce bridges the gap between physical stores, e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, social media and emerging technologies, enabling a seamless and consistent customer experience at every touchpoint.

unified-commerce

 

What is unified commerce?

Unified commerce refers to a business strategy and approach that integrates all sales channels, customer touchpoints and backend systems into a seamless and cohesive experience. It aims to provide customers with a consistent and personalized shopping experience across various channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, online websites, mobile apps, social media platforms and more.

Unlike traditional multichannel or omnichannel approaches, where different channels operate independently and may lack integration, unified commerce focuses on breaking down silos and creating a unified ecosystem. It enables customers to interact with the brand and make purchases through any channel of their choice, while ensuring that their experience remains consistent, convenient and personalized regardless of the channel they use.

Key characteristics of unified commerce include:

  • Channel integration: All sales channels are interconnected, allowing customers to seamlessly transition between them without any disruption or loss of information.

  • Data consistency: Customer and transaction data is centralized and synchronized across all channels, enabling a single view of the customer and facilitating personalized experiences.

  • Inventory visibility: Real-time inventory visibility across channels ensures that customers can access accurate product information, check stock availability and make purchases confidently.

  • Order management: A unified order management system handles orders from all channels, enabling efficient fulfillment, tracking and returns, regardless of where the order originated.

  • Customer experience: Unified commerce aims to deliver a consistent and personalized experience, leveraging customer data and preferences to provide relevant recommendations, offers and support throughout the customer journey.

  • Backend integration: Integration of backend systems, such as inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM) and payment processing, enables streamlined operations and data flow.

By implementing unified commerce, businesses can overcome the limitations of disjointed sales channels and enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty and engagement. It also empowers retailers with greater operational efficiency, improved inventory management and deeper insights into customer behavior across channels, leading to better decision-making and business growth.

 

Omnichannel vs. unified commerce

Omnichannel and unified commerce are two related but distinct concepts in the retail industry. While they share similarities, it's essential to understand their differences:

Omnichannel commerce: Omnichannel commerce focuses on delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience across multiple channels. It acknowledges the existence of different channels and aims to integrate them for a cohesive shopping journey. In an omnichannel approach, each channel operates independently, but efforts are made to ensure they work together to provide a unified experience. Customers can engage with the brand across various touchpoints and their preferences and data may be shared to offer personalized interactions. However, the channels themselves may still operate with separate systems and processes.

Unified commerce: Unified commerce takes the integration of channels to a higher level by creating a single, centralized system that connects all channels seamlessly. It goes beyond the integration of customer data and personalization, as it encompasses the integration of systems and processes. With unified commerce, all channels are interconnected, sharing real-time information such as inventory, pricing, promotions and customer data. This allows for a consistent and cohesive experience for customers, where they can seamlessly transition between channels without disruptions. Unified commerce eliminates silos and provides a holistic view of the business, enabling streamlined operations and a single source of truth.

In summary, omnichannel commerce focuses on integrating channels to provide a consistent customer experience, while unified commerce goes further by creating a centralized system that connects all channels and streamlines operations. Unified commerce aims to break down barriers between channels, providing a truly unified and seamless shopping experience.

 

 

What are the benefits of unified commerce?

Unified commerce offers several significant benefits for businesses. Here are some key advantages:

  • Seamless customer experience: Unified commerce ensures a consistent and seamless shopping experience across multiple channels. Customers can start their journey on one channel and seamlessly transition to another without any disruptions. This cohesive experience enhances customer satisfaction and builds trust and loyalty.

  • Personalization: With unified commerce, businesses can gather and leverage customer data from various channels to deliver personalized experiences. By understanding individual preferences, purchase history and behavior, businesses can offer tailored recommendations, promotions and product offerings, creating a more personalized and relevant shopping experience.

  • Single view of the customer: Unified commerce allows businesses to have a single view of each customer across channels. This comprehensive understanding enables better customer segmentation, targeted marketing campaigns and improved customer service. It also enables businesses to provide consistent pricing, promotions and product information across all touchpoints.

  • Inventory optimization: By integrating inventory management systems across channels, unified commerce enables real-time visibility into stock levels and locations. This visibility helps businesses optimize inventory, reduce stockouts and efficiently fulfill customer orders. It also enables features like "buy online, pick up in-store" (BOPIS) and ship-from-store, improving convenience for customers.

  • Streamlined operations: Unified commerce eliminates the complexities associated with managing multiple channels independently. It allows businesses to streamline operations by integrating systems such as point-of-sale (POS), inventory management, order management and CRM. This integration enhances operational efficiency, reduces manual work and improves overall productivity.

  • Improved decision-making: With a unified view of customer data and performance metrics across channels, businesses can make data-driven decisions. Access to comprehensive analytics and insights enables businesses to understand customer behavior, identify trends and optimize marketing strategies. This data-driven approach leads to more informed decision-making and improved business outcomes.

  • Enhanced agility and scalability: Unified commerce provides businesses with the agility and scalability needed to adapt to changing market dynamics. It allows for easier integration of new channels and technologies as they emerge, ensuring businesses stay ahead of the competition and meet evolving customer expectations.

  • Increased sales opportunities: By providing a seamless shopping experience, personalized recommendations and convenient fulfillment options, unified commerce can drive increased sales opportunities. Customers are more likely to make purchases when they have a consistent and frictionless experience across channels, leading to higher conversion rates and revenue growth.

Overall, unified commerce empowers businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences, optimize operations and drive growth. By breaking down channel silos and creating a unified ecosystem, businesses can better meet customer expectations, build long-term loyalty and stay competitive in today's dynamic retail landscape.

 

Four components of unified commerce

Unified commerce typically consists of four key components:

  1. Integration: Integration is at the core of unified commerce. It involves connecting and synchronizing various systems and processes across channels to create a unified ecosystem. This includes integrating inventory management, order management, customer data, pricing, promotions and other operational systems. The goal is to ensure seamless data flow and real-time visibility across all touchpoints.

  2. Centralized data: Unified commerce relies on a centralized data repository that consolidates customer information, transaction history, preferences and other relevant data from all channels. This central repository provides a single view of the customer, allowing businesses to deliver personalized experiences, targeted marketing campaigns and consistent interactions across channels. It enables businesses to better understand their customers and make informed decisions based on comprehensive data.

  3. Consistent customer experience: A key aspect of unified commerce is providing a consistent customer experience across all channels. This means ensuring that customers receive the same level of service, product information, pricing, promotions and branding regardless of the channel they choose to engage with. Unified commerce aims to eliminate channel-specific silos and deliver a seamless, frictionless experience that transcends individual touchpoints.

  4. Operational efficiency: Unified commerce streamlines operations by consolidating systems and processes. This includes integrating point-of-sale (POS) systems, inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service and other operational components. By centralizing these processes and eliminating redundancies, businesses can achieve greater efficiency, reduce manual work and improve overall productivity. This operational efficiency enables businesses to deliver a seamless shopping experience while optimizing resources.

These four components work together to create a unified commerce environment where channels are seamlessly integrated, data is centralized, customer experiences are consistent and operations are streamlined. By embracing unified commerce, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, drive growth and thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

 

 

Unified commerce is the future of retail

As consumer expectations continue to evolve, businesses need to adapt and provide a seamless, integrated shopping experience across multiple channels. Here is why unified commerce is poised to shape the future of retail:

  • Customer-centric approach: Unified commerce puts the customer at the center of the retail experience. By providing a consistent and personalized journey across channels, businesses can meet the rising expectations of today's consumers. Customers expect convenience, flexibility and a seamless transition between online and offline channels and unified commerce fulfills these demands.

  • Seamless shopping experience: Unified commerce eliminates the barriers between different channels, enabling customers to start their shopping journey on one channel and continue on another without disruptions. Whether it is browsing products online, visiting a physical store or making a purchase through a mobile app, customers expect a cohesive experience. Unified commerce ensures that the transition is smooth, maintaining a consistent brand image and delivering a seamless shopping experience.

  • Data-driven personalization: With unified commerce, businesses can gather and leverage customer data from multiple touchpoints. This data allows for deep insights into customer behavior, preferences and purchase history. By using this information to personalize interactions, businesses can deliver targeted recommendations, promotions and experiences, creating a more engaging and relevant relationship with customers.

  • Operational efficiency: Unified commerce streamlines operations by integrating various systems, such as inventory management, order fulfillment and customer service. By consolidating processes and data, businesses can optimize efficiency and reduce operational complexities. This leads to improved inventory visibility, faster order processing and better customer service, ultimately enhancing the overall operational efficiency of the business.

  • Agility and adaptability: The retail landscape is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies and changing consumer behaviors. Unified commerce provides businesses with the agility to adapt to these changes. By integrating new channels and technologies as they emerge, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

In conclusion, unified commerce is the future of retail as it aligns with customer expectations for seamless experiences, personalized interactions and convenience across channels. By embracing unified commerce, businesses can thrive in the ever-changing retail landscape and build strong, long-term customer relationships.


Master Data Management Blog by Stibo Systems logo

Katja is a seasoned digital strategist with a 10-year track record of helping businesses across different industries drive digital growth and improve their digital experience.

Discover Blogs by Topic

  • MDM strategy
  • Data governance
  • Customer and party data
  • See more
  • Retail and distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Data quality
  • Supplier data
  • Product data and PIM
  • AI and machine learning
  • CPG
  • Financial services
  • GDPR
  • Sustainability
  • Location data
  • PDX Syndication

The Difference Between Master Data and Metadata?

5/26/24

Master Data Management Roles and Responsibilities

5/20/24

8 Best Practices for Customer Master Data Management

5/16/24

What Is Master Data Governance – And Why Do You Need It?

5/12/24

Guide: Deliver flawless rich content experiences with master data governance

4/11/24

Risks of Using LLMs in Your Business – What Does OWASP Have to Say?

4/10/24

Guide: How to comply with industry standards using master data governance

4/9/24

Digital Product Passports - A Data Management Challenge

4/8/24

Guide: Get enterprise data enrichment right with master data governance

4/2/24

Guide: Getting enterprise data modelling right with master data governance

4/2/24

Guide: Improving your data quality with master data governance

4/2/24

Data Governance Trends 2024

1/30/24

NRF 2024 Recap: In the AI era, better data can make all the difference

1/19/24

Building Supply Chain Resilience: Strategies & Examples

12/19/23

How Master Data Management Can Enhance Your ERP Solution

12/14/23

Shedding Light on Climate Accountability and Traceability in Retail

11/29/23

What is Smart Manufacturing and Why Does it Matter?

10/11/23

Future Proof Your Retail Business with Composable Commerce

10/9/23

5 Common Reasons Why Manufacturers Fail at Digital Transformation

10/5/23

How to Digitally Transform a Restaurant Chain

9/29/23

Three Benefits of Moving to Headless Commerce and the Role of a Modern PIM

9/14/23

12 Steps to a Successful Omnichannel and Unified Commerce

7/6/23

CGF Global Summit 2023: Unlock Sustainable Growth With Collaboration and Innovation

7/5/23

Navigating the Current Challenges of Supply Chain Management

6/28/23

Responsible AI relies on data governance

5/11/23

Product Data Management during Mergers and Acquisitions

4/6/23

A Complete Master Data Management Glossary

3/14/23

4 Ways to Reduce Ecommerce Returns

3/8/23

Asset Data Governance is Central for Asset Management

3/1/23

4 Common Master Data Management Implementation Styles

2/21/23

How to Leverage Internet of Things with Master Data Management

2/14/23

Manufacturing Trends and Insights in 2023-2025

2/14/23

Sustainability in Retail Needs Governed Data

2/13/23

What is Augmented Data Management?

2/9/23

NRF 2023: Retail Turns to AI and Automation to Increase Efficiencies

1/20/23

What is the difference between CPG and FMCG?

1/18/23

5 Key Manufacturing Challenges in 2023

1/16/23

What is a Golden Customer Record in Master Data Management?

1/9/23

The Future of Master Data Management: Trends in 2023-2025

1/8/23

Innovation in Retail

1/4/23

5 CPG Industry Trends and Opportunities for 2023-2025

12/5/22

Life Cycle Assessment Scoring for Food Products

11/21/22

Retail of the Future

11/14/22

Omnichannel Strategies for Retail

11/7/22

Hyper-Personalized Customer Experiences Need Multidomain MDM

11/5/22

What is Omnichannel Retailing and What is the Role of Data Management?

10/25/22

Most Common ISO Standards in the Manufacturing Industry

10/18/22

How to Get Started with Master Data Management: 5 Steps to Consider

10/17/22

What is Supply Chain Analytics and Why It's Important

10/12/22

What is Data Quality and Why It's Important

10/12/22

A Data Monetization Strategy - Get More Value from Your Master Data

10/11/22

An Introductory Guide: What is Data Intelligence?

10/1/22

Revolutionizing Manufacturing: 5 Must-Have SaaS Systems for Success

9/15/22

An Introductory Guide to Supplier Compliance

9/7/22

What is Application Data Management and How Does It Differ From MDM?

8/29/22

Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing Industry

8/25/22

Master Data Management Framework: Get Set for Success

8/17/22

Discover the Value of Your Data: Master Data Management KPIs & Metrics

8/15/22

Supplier Self-Service: Everything You Need to Know

6/15/22

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: What’s the Difference?

6/14/22

Digital Transformation in the CPG Industry

6/14/22

Create a Culture of Data Transparency - Begin with a Solid Foundation

6/10/22

The 5 Biggest Retail Trends for 2023-2025

5/31/22

What is a Location Intelligence?

5/31/22

Omnichannel Customer Experience: The Ultimate Guide

5/30/22

Location Analytics – All You Need to Know

5/26/22

Omnichannel Commerce: Creating a Seamless Shopping Experience

5/24/22

Top 4 Data Management Trends in the Insurance Industry

5/11/22

What is Supply Chain Visibility and Why It's Important

5/1/22

6 Features of an Effective Master Data Management Solution

4/30/22

What is Digital Asset Management?

4/23/22

The Ultimate Guide to Data Transparency

4/21/22

How Manufacturers Can Shift to Product-as-a-Service Offerings

4/20/22

How to Check Your Enterprise Data Foundation

4/16/22

An Introductory Guide to Manufacturing Compliance

4/14/22

Multidomain MDM vs. Multiple Domain MDM

3/31/22

Making Master Data Accessible: What is Data as a Service (DaaS)?

3/29/22

How to Build a Successful Data Governance Strategy

3/23/22

What is Unified Commerce? Key Advantages & Best Practices

3/22/22

How to Choose the Right Data Quality Tool?

3/22/22

What is a data domain? Meaning & examples

3/21/22

6 Best Practices for Data Governance

3/17/22

5 Advantages of a Master Data Management System

3/16/22

A Unified Customer View: What Is It and Why You Need It

3/9/22

Supply Chain Challenges in the CPG Industry

2/24/22

Data Migration to SAP S/4HANA ERP - The Fast and Safe Approach with MDM

2/17/22

The Best Data Governance Tools You Need to Know About

2/17/22

Top 5 Most Common Data Quality Issues

2/14/22

What Is Synthetic Data and Why It Needs Master Data Management

2/10/22

What is Cloud Master Data Management?

2/8/22

How to Implement Data Governance

2/7/22

Build vs. Buy Master Data Management Software

1/28/22

Why is Data Governance Important?

1/27/22

Five Reasons Your Data Governance Initiative Could Fail

1/24/22

How to Turn Your Data Silos Into Zones of Insight

1/21/22

How to Improve Supplier Experience Management

1/16/22

​​How to Improve Supplier Onboarding

1/16/22

How to Enable a Single Source of Truth with Master Data Management

1/13/22

What is a Data Quality Framework?

1/11/22

How to Measure the ROI of Master Data Management

1/11/22

What is Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS)?

1/7/22

The Ultimate Guide to Building a Data Governance Framework

1/4/22

Introducing the Master Data Management Maturity Model

1/3/22

Master Data Management Tools - and Why You Need Them

12/20/21

The Dynamic Duo of Data Security and Data Governance

12/20/21

How to Choose the Right Supplier Management Solution

12/20/21

How Data Transparency Enables Sustainable Retailing

12/6/21

What is Supplier Performance Management?

12/1/21

What is Party Data? All You Need to Know About Party Data Management

11/28/21

What is Data Compliance? An Introductory Guide

11/18/21

How to Create a Marketing Center of Excellence

11/14/21

The Complete Guide: How to Get a 360° Customer View

11/7/21

How Location Data Adds Value to Master Data Projects

10/29/21

How Marketers Should Prepare for the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season

10/26/21

What is Supplier Lifecycle Management?

10/19/21

What is a Data Mesh? A Simple Introduction

10/15/21

How to Build a Master Data Management Strategy

9/26/21

10 Signs You Need a Master Data Management Platform

9/2/21

What Vendor Data Is and Why It Matters to Manufacturers

8/31/21

3 Reasons High-Quality Supplier Data Can Benefit Any Organization

8/25/21

4 Trends in the Automotive Industry

8/11/21

What is Reference Data and Reference Data Management?

8/9/21

What Obstacles Are Impacting the Global Retail Recovery?

8/2/21

GDPR as a Catalyst for Effective Data Governance

7/25/21

All You Need to Know About Supplier Information Management

7/21/21

5 Tips for Driving a Centralized Data Management Strategy

7/3/21

Data Governance and Data Protection, a Match Made in Heaven?

6/29/21

Welcome to the Decade of Transparency

5/26/21

How to Become a Customer-Obsessed Brand

5/12/21

How to Create a Master Data Management Roadmap in Five Steps

4/27/21

What is a Data Catalog? Definition and Benefits

4/13/21

How to Improve the Retail Customer Experience with Data Management

4/8/21

How to Improve Your Data Management

3/31/21

How to Choose the Right Master Data Management Solution

3/29/21

Business Intelligence and Analytics: What's the Difference?

3/25/21

Spending too much on Big Data? Try Small Data and MDM

3/24/21

What is a Data Lake? Everything You Need to Know

3/21/21

How to Extract More Value from Your Data

3/17/21

Are you making decisions based on bad HCO/HCP information?

2/24/21

Why Master Data Cleansing is Important to CPG Brands

1/20/21

CRM 2.0 – It All Starts With Master Data Management

12/19/20

5 Trends in Telecom that Rely on Transparency of Master Data

12/15/20

10 Data Management Trends in Financial Services

11/19/20

Seasonal Marketing Campaigns: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

11/8/20

What Is a Data Fabric and Why Do You Need It?

10/29/20

Transparent Product Information in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

10/14/20

How to Improve Back-End Systems Using Master Data Management

9/19/20

8 Benefits of Transparent Product Information for Medical Devices

9/1/20

How Retailers Can Increase Online Sales in 2023

8/23/20

Master Data Management (MDM) & Big Data

8/14/20

Key Benefits of Knowing Your Customers

8/9/20

Women in Master Data: Kelly Amavisca, Ferguson

8/5/20

Customer Data in Corporate Banking Reveal New Opportunities

7/21/20

How to Analyze Customer Data With Customer Master Data Management

7/21/20

How to Improve Your 2023 Black Friday Sales in 5 Steps

7/18/20

4 Ways Product Information Management (PIM) Improves the Customer Experience

7/18/20

How to Estimate the ROI of Your Customer Data

7/1/20

Women in Master Data: Rebecca Chamberlain, M&S

6/24/20

How to Personalise Insurance Solutions with MDM

6/17/20

How to Democratize Your Data

6/3/20

How to Get Buy-In for a Master Data Management Solution

5/25/20

How CPG Brands Manage the Impact of Covid-19 in a Post-Pandemic World

5/18/20

5 Steps to Improve Your Data Syndication

5/7/20

Marketing Data Quality: Why Is It Important and How to Get Started

3/26/20

Panic Buying: Navigating Long-term Implications and Uncertainty

3/24/20

Women in Master Data: Ditte Brix, IMPACT

2/20/20

Get More Value From Your CRM With Customer Master Data Management

2/17/20

Women in Master Data: Nagashree Devadas, Stibo Systems

2/4/20

How to Create Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Success for CPG Brands

1/3/20

Women in Master Data: Anna Schéle, Ahlsell

10/25/19

Women in Master Data: Morgan Lawrence, Infoverity

9/26/19

Women in Master Data: Sara Friberg, Acando (Part of CGI)

9/13/19

Improving Product Setup Processes Enhances Superior Experiences

8/21/19

How to Improve Your Product's Time to Market With PDX Syndication

7/18/19

8 Tips For Pricing Automation In The Aftermarket

6/1/19

How to Drive Innovation With Master Data Management

3/15/19

Discover PDX Syndication to Launch New Products with Speed

2/27/19

How to Benefit from Product Data Management

2/20/19

What is a Product Backlog and How to Avoid It

2/13/19

How to Get Rid of Customer Duplicates

2/7/19

4 Types of IT Systems That Should Be Sunsetted

1/3/19

How to Use Customer Data Modeling

11/15/18

How to Reduce Time-to-Market with Master Data Management

10/28/18

How to Start Taking Advantage of Your Data

9/12/18

6 Signs You Have a Potential GDPR Problem

8/16/18

GDPR: The DOs and DON’Ts of Personal Data

6/13/18

How Master Data Management Supports Data Security

6/7/18

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the GDPR

5/30/18

Understanding the Role of a Chief Data Officer

4/26/18

3 Steps: How to Plan, Execute and Evaluate Any IoT Initiative

2/20/18

How to Benefit From Customer-Centric Data Management

9/7/17

3 Ways to Faster Innovation with Multidomain Master Data Management

6/7/17

Product Information Management Trends to Consider

5/25/17

4 Major GDPR Challenges and How to Solve Them

5/12/17

How to Prepare for GDPR in Five Steps

2/21/17

How Data Can Help Fight Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

1/24/17

Create the Best Customer Experience with a Customer Data Platform

1/11/17