Unified commerce: A future worth moving towards
While businesses know that they need to invest in unified commerce strategies, many retailers don’t move forward or move forward slowly because of cost. With ever smaller margins, the move towards eCommerce, and so many retailers struggling to keep doors open, today’s retailer has to juggle a balance between leveraging their competitive advantage while substantially reducing costs. Many of these cost reductions are focused on store systems. Retailers exploring alternatives face decisions between big-name providers who offer every solution under the sun, best of breed providers and building in-house solutions as they try to find the most cost-effective way to support and unify disparate systems to offer a unified customer experience.
What retailers discover is that open systems offer the best answer by providing platform independence and investment protection long-term. Retail systems that are designed to be open offer scalability and a measure of self-sufficiency. The benefits to the retailer include the ability to easily change hardware as needed and the ability for software integration. However, not all open systems are the same and not everyone claiming to have an “open system” really has one. How systems are initially designed, who they were designed to serve, and the retail specific expertise of the vendor all impact the long-term benefits that the retailer can expect to receive.
Vendors who strive to truly partner with their clients do things to ease the software integration process, lower maintenance costs and aim to follow industry standards. ARTS is a community through the National Retail Federation that is dedicated to helping retailers, and solution providers identify and adopt current and emerging information technology. PCMS, for example, is an ARTS member and actually helped to develop the original standards. The value of standards for retailers is that software following the standards can significantly reduce the overhead required to exchange data between various systems.
Multi-channel retailers need solutions that allow them to connect all the sales channels while also offering reliability and a low total cost of ownership that seamlessly support a variety of channels – in-store systems, eCommerce, mobile, self-scan, kiosks etc.. To make the unified journey possible, retailers need to adopt solutions that offer convergence and that integrate well with CRM, OMS and other systems across the enterprise.
At PCMS, we continue to embrace technology that will ultimately give the retailer the most flexibility to unify systems, the most options to grow in new directions and overall the lowest total cost of ownership. If your goal is connecting with customers any time and anywhere, then consider connecting with PCMS today.