The number of communication and distribution channels in retail has never been higher. Purchases are made online, via social media, and in the shop. Deliveries are made via Click and Collect, ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pickup In-Store), BORIS (Buy Online, Return In Store), and many other options. Keeping track of each customer contact and order status is a challenge. Unified commerce is the day's keyword - this applies to B2B and B2C e-commerce.
Customers, as traders know from their daily business, are as shy as deer - and today they are just as nimble. They move quickly and confidently on the most diverse channels - online, on social media, and in stationary trade - and combine them flexibly, entirely according to their wishes and requirements at the respective moment.
The big challenge is to address the customers in their respective situations via the optimal channel with the optimal offer. In online retail, this has been met with ever new concepts (detailed explanations of the terms can be found here). Here are some examples:
- Multichannel - means that a company offers several different shopping channels for customers. These channels can be organized independently of each other.
- Cross-channel - describes the experience of customers using a combination of several different channels when making a purchase. This requires an exchange across the channels. Concepts such as click and collect are made possible by this.
- Omnichannel - the syllable "omni" as the Latin word for "each" or "all" refers to the integration of all physical (offline) and digital (online) channels to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience. All channels are constantly connected, customers enjoy a shopping experience across all channels that is adapted to their respective usage situations.
- Unified commerce - this is omnichannel commerce, in which the numerous sales channels with their different systems are not only networked, but a central backend platform brings together all data and processes in real-time. This creates an optimal customer experience for the customer, the shopping experience is channel-independent and seamless.