Retailers Cite ‘Unified Commerce’ as Customer Engagement Priority

BOSTON — A new customer engagement survey by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) reveals that “unified commerce” is a top retailer priority for 2016. Companies recognize the need to create a holistic experience that transcends channels for connected consumers who increasingly have the ability to shop where, when and how they want from their mobile devices.

According to the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, 85 percent of respondents indicated that unified commerce is a top priority. The research offers insight into retailers’ current point-of-sale (POS) and customer engagement initiatives, priorities and future trends as the physical and digital worlds converge within the store.

Most attempts to date are falling short. Many retailers have taken the “just get something done” approach to get in the game and the unfortunate result of this quick-fix approach is a “faux” omnichannel model that doesn’t execute as promised and has the risk of disappointing customers, according to BRP.

“Saddled with legacy systems that are not designed to accommodate today’s retail environment, retailers have scrambled to cobble things together in attempts to deliver the omnichannel capabilities customers expect,” said Ken Morris, a principal at BRP. “Retailers need to invest in infrastructure, networks and a service-oriented architecture (SOA) layer and do it right."

The risk of losing customers due to disappointing shopping experiences as a result of "a flawed omnichannel architecture is deadly," Morris added, which is why "'real' unified commerce is retailers’ top priority for 2016."

Other key findings of the 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey include:

  • Improving customer engagement and the customer experience is critical; 68 percent of retailers indicated this was a focus for the upcoming year.
  • Retailers are still occupied with payment/data security; 38 percent of retailers stated this was a top priority.
  • While 60 percent of retailers indicate they have implemented “inventory visibility across channels,” 80 percent of these retailers indicate the system “needs improvement.”

Click here to download the complete Boston Retail Partners survey.

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