Debunking the Retail Apocalypse Narrative with a Unified Commerce Approach
It’s all around you—“evidence” that brick-and-mortar retailing is dying. Yes, some big-name chain stores are closing their stores. This is true. But 64% of retailers are increasing the number of stores in 2019. Based on this article from Chain Store Age, “…in every single retail segment, there are more chains that are expanding their number of stores than closing stores.”
Shoppers want it all, and you have the ability to give it to them. What do they want? They want to shop online AND shop in your store. They want convenience and interaction. They want to know that they are a valued customer. Savvy and innovative retailers are getting the message. So, how do you give them what they want? With a Unified Commerce Approach.
What is a Unified Commerce Approach?
With Unified Commerce, the customer experience is put at the center of everything. All sales channels and customer touchpoints are managed within a single retail software platform and this greatly enhances the customer journey. If you want a single version of the truth, it requires one database for visibility in real-time of the entire enterprise. Unified commerce for you…unified commerce for your customers.
3 Ways to Put a Unified Commerce Approach into Action
1. Real-time Inventory Visibility – Online and In-Store
Regardless of industry, if you have inventory, you need to know what’s going on with it. It can identify and prevent issues like theft or just mismanagement. Specifically in retail, however, inventory visibility helps drive sales. By providing access to what’s in stock, your customers can see what you have, not only for online purchase, but for purchasing in your store. If customers know you have what they’re looking for, they’ll stop looking—and buy from you.
Even better, if you can show inventory levels by store, you can create a “perceived shortage” that also creates a sense of urgency with customers, triggering them to buy now rather than waiting. And finally, simply by showing inventory availability and offering the option to buy online or pick up in a store, you will win business over your competitors.
2. Ecommerce Capabilities
Even if you have a successful brick-and-mortar store, an online store will provide yet another sales channel. Online sales account for more than 14% of total U.S. retail sales. By selling online, you reach a global audience, and it’s pretty inexpensive and easier than you think to start up and scale as your business grows and changes. Most importantly, customers have changed. They not only appreciate fast turnaround; they expect it. They want 24/7 customer service and the ability to shop and buy whenever they want, from wherever they are.
In addition, digital technologies, such as e-commerce, retail apps, and marketing automation tools can streamline your operations, allowing you to deliver better customer experiences, enable you to use collected data to improve your offerings, and hone your marketing strategy.
3. Loyalty and Membership Programs
These days, you can’t go to the check-out at a store without being asked to join their loyalty program. That’s because loyalty and membership programs were designed for the purpose of retaining customers by building their loyalty. Since it costs more to bring in a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, this makes sense. Want more reasons? Loyalty and membership programs boost sales, can positively promote your brand, are surprisingly cost-effective to implement and easy to run, and they collect valuable data.
Make the Move to Unified Commerce
There are many other ways to put a unified commerce approach into action, but the key is to put the customer experience at the center, with a single system overseeing it all. Contact Tina Terrezza, Director of Sales & Marketing, Retail at ArcherPoint Retail to discuss how we can help you make the move into the world of unified commerce.
Download our retail tech trends eBook for more tips on using technology to create a unified commerce experience for your customers.