BRP: Most retailers plan to have unified commerce within three years

More and more companies are pushing unified commerce strategies to the top of their “to-do” lists.

According to Boston Retail Partners’ “2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey,” 81% plan to have unified commerce within three years — a move that will help them evolve the customer journey —and associated expectations.

Disruption and adaptation are changing the customer engagement model and blurring the lines among retailers, brands and wholesalers. To stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape, retailers need a different technology approach to enable the new customer experience and support its rapid evolution requires.

According to the study, unified commerce is the key to this retail transformation. Critical to a successful unified commerce strategy are four key pillars that will define the required customer experience. These include:

Personal – Engaging the customer through personalization and relevance is the key to attracting and keeping customers. For 62% of retailers, indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority. Meanwhile, 83% will suggestive sell based on previous purchases within three years.

Mobile – The pervasiveness and ease-of-use of mobile devices offers tremendous opportunities for retailers as the customer takes control of their own retail experience across channels. This potential is pushing 62% of companies to increase their use of mobile devices as the POS by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, 42% will use customer-owned mobile devices as a point-of-sale within three years.

Seamless – Customer expectations for a personalized and seamless experience require retailers to follow customers’ journeys across channels as they research, shop and purchase. In line with this trend, 81% of retailers plan to offer unified commerce by the end of 2020, and 91% plan to offer order visibility across channels within three years

Secure – Today’s retail environment requires security beyond retailers’ current focus on payments and networks. Thus, 91% will have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by the end of 2020, and 61% will offer a single token solution across the enterprise within three years, according to the study.

“Retail and customer engagement models must transform,” said Brian Brunk, principal at BRP.

“However, the legacy retail applications and infrastructure still in place at many retail organizations are not properly equipped to support changing retail models and continuously evolving customer expectations,” he added. “To meet the demands of their customer, the retail winners in 2018 and beyond need to accelerate the transformation to cloud-based unified commerce. Victory belongs to the agile.”