Even after the implementation of technology, retail management suffers due to the absence of an integrated platform. Unified commerce has become a necessity in the present retail market. If you own a retail business, you must be facing a tough time handling all business aspects through different applications if there is not a unified one present.
There would be one application that your salespersons use for selling the product, another one for inventory, then one more for storing the customer information, and a lot more.
Though it is expected to make sales higher and handling business easier for you, such an incoherent network is anything but comfort. It’s troubling not only because it demands efforts. More than that, it gives rise to confusion, errors, and causes hindrance to sales.
Problems a Business Faces Without Unified Commerce Platform
If we quickly analyze a business journey, the following would be problems they generally face when they don’t implement LS Central unified commerce solutions:
- Finding the right combination of applications could be a tough game. Whatever software products you select, there will be glitches as they are not designed to be integrated and operated together.
- When you choose multiple platforms, the cost is high. If you are looking for some pocket-friendly options, you may face disappointment. Unified commerce solutions easily solve such an issue as you only need to deal with one SaaS provider for all your needs.
- Let’s say, you found a suitable combination and know it’s time for implementation. At this point, the question arises that “Where will you find resources who can provide you service?” Therefore, finding competent resources will be the next challenge you are going to face.
- It would be rare to have a single resource owning the required knowledge. Hence, you will need multiple experts to tackle the situation. Again, it leads to a higher cost.
- Another factor you should be worried about is time. With multiple software programs and multiple resources- you can only depend on luck that everything gets aligned at once. It won’t happen. There will be multiple trials to make them function suitably (not sure if applications will perform satisfactorily afterward).
- The implementation only holds a minor part of your troubles. The major issues appear when you start working without unified commerce. First comes the training. How are you planning to make your management team and employees familiar with multiple applications in a short period- you can’t. It will take time for them to learn and use the applications entirely. Another way is to conduct training sessions. However, for each product, there will be a different training session. Hence, high costs and time-consuming methodology.
- Unfortunately, it’s just getting started here. As a seamless real-time synchronization won’t be possible, the data amongst all the platforms won’t be the same. Maybe, there a product out of stock. But, it’s present on the POS, and the customer purchases it. How are you going to provide him with the product when it’s not there?
- Downtime risk is also high. If any of the applications go down, it may affect the entire management. Thus, committing high efficiency with such a setup is next to impossible. Such an issue doesn’t appear in the case of unified commerce platforms.
- Can you run a loyalty program and offer it in a suitable way? The customer data will be saved locally, or it will flow from the local database to a central database. You can’t be sure that it will get reflected on the interface between salesperson and customer. It can even negatively affect sales by degrading the customer experience.
We understand that these many reasons are enough to let you know the shortcomings which unified commerce can solve. Let’s assume that you are using a unified commerce platform such as LS Central. Would you like to know the benefits you will have? Check out the next section.
How Unified Commerce Benefits A Business?
There are many benefits present in unified commerce that you don’t get while using multiple solutions. We will let you know and discuss each one separately to provide a detailed view.
Accounting and Finance Management Made Easy
Finance management is where the use of different applications can lead to disorders. When the data remains on a single platform, the chances of error are minimal.
A unified platform seamlessly connects with the sales features and helps an enterprise manage finance and conduct accounting. It even reduces the overall cost as you won’t need to buy additional software for finance management.
Enhanced Inventory Management
With poor inventory management comes losses, which can be avoided when you use a unified commerce solution. Think about it! One platform for managing the entire lifecycle of a product. Through unified commerce, you can track the addition, movement, and selling of each product.
When you use different platforms for tracking different parts of the life cycle, there would be gaps between the platforms. Therefore, real-time tracking won’t be thinkable, but not with a unified commerce solution.
As soon as the item gets added to the inventory, it is reflected on the backend and POS of the respective store. As it gets sold through POS, the selling gets reflected on the inventory. Therefore, whenever the product goes down to a certain number, it notifies the manager or even works to automatically reorder the product from the selected vendor.
With unified commerce, your inventory management becomes effortless, and at the same time, it becomes more reliable than ever.
Connecting Online and Physical Stores
Buyers can make purchases from any of the platforms, whether it’s your online store or physical store. They might look for a product online and check the closest store where it’s available. It gives them the option to purchase the product online and wait for its delivery or collect it from a physical store.
The overall aim of unified commerce is to make your business efforts easier and customer experience better. The benefit mentioned above exhibits how unified commerce fulfills both goals.
Efficient Customer Data Management and Retargeting
Customer Retargeting is one of the major ways to grow sales. In addition to online customer targeting, you can even target a customer based on the customer journey. For that, the POS should be seamlessly integrated with the customer database.
According to the journey, you can create personalized buyer personas. As per the buyer’s preferences and interests, the unified commerce platform can suggest related products for upselling.
With the traditional approach, you can face issues regarding customer information. Maintaining an integrated database becomes tough, and your precious buyers’ data gets lost. There will be issues in data access, loyalty programs, and rendering offers.
A unified commerce platform allows different stores to manage and access the data in real-time as the data remains in a unified database. In this way, it helps you to serve customers better, and boosts your sales, delivering a higher profit.
Saves Time and Cost- Eliminates Need for integrating Multiple Products
As we discussed earlier, when there are multiple applications, the purchase cost could be higher than using a single unified commerce solution. Moreover, there would be additional costs in resources. In the case of a unified commerce platform, too, you will require resources for implementation and configuration. However, as it’s only a single platform, implementation would be easier, quicker, and less resource demanding.
The whole implementation gets done in a shorter period when you utilize a unified commerce solution. Such a platform is more reliable, and the chances of technical issues will also be low.
Easy to Use- Work Efficiency Increases
When you use a unified commerce solution, your employees and salesperson can go through each application’s attribute at once. They won’t need to learn different applications and go through their complex integrated user interface.
As learning becomes easier, you can expect high performance from them. Their performance will be a direct factor supporting your business growth.
Unified Commerce- Retail Management’s Present and Future
Retail was once started as a single channel business. Then, retailers realized that every channel is an opportunity and started selling through multiple channels. Such an arrangement is called multichannel.
However, these channels are not integrated. Therefore, in a multichannel, each channel works independently without having any knowledge of the other channels. It has a few disadvantages hindering the profit and customer experience.
Soon, it was noticed that these channels must be integrated, and all the necessary data should be present at each channel. For that reason, all applications handling these channels were bridged, turning it into omnichannel.
However, even after using omnichannel for decades, retailers were hoping for a more harmonized approach, which leads to the introduction of unified commerce.
Unified commerce is a single platform with a centralized database allowing to learn about consumers comprehensively, make data-driven decisions, and connect each business aspect seamlessly.
Even unified commerce is developing each moment, and retailers need reliable IT partners who can support them to remain ahead of the competition.
LS Retail keeps introducing unique unified commerce solutions for enterprises. We work to implement and align those unified commerce solutions to your business; we are Web Masters.
Our experience in the retail industry allowed us to learn the development of unified solutions. Our knowledge blessed us with developing the best practices that can help businesses such as yours.
We provide implementation, deployment, training, configuration services for all Microsoft ERP solutions as we want to add value to businesses and play a role in growing them.