Tokyobike had an issue that most businesses dream of: consumers desired its products. What's the catch? It had locations in New York and Tokyo, but its consumers came from all around the world. Unified Commerce.
People would test ride a bike at one of the company's retail sites before flying home with a business card, bike specs, and a credit card authorization form to complete. Unsurprisingly, several buyers had difficulty completing their orders.
Most people don't purchase an $800 bike on impulse, and the distance between Tokyobike's brick-and-mortar shops and its clients' locations makes closing the sales loop difficult. Clearly, its system was inadequate.
Six months later, Tokyobike's year-over-year sales had climbed by 100%. What is the secret of its success? Using a unified commerce platform to sell online
What is unified commerce?
Unified commerce is a business strategy that combines all of your data on prospects, customers, and products into a single platform. Unified commerce delivers better, more consistent customer experiences across the ecommerce sales cycle, from customer relationship management through a point of sale (POS) to order fulfillment and inventory management.
Unified commerce vs. omnichannel commerce
Although they both aim to provide a better, more consistent customer experience across all consumer touchpoints, omnichannel services, and unified commerce solutions are not the same.
Omnichannel (or omni-channel) commerce focuses on ensuring uniformity on your company's front end—what consumers see. Whether a consumer shops on Instagram through mobile, on your ecommerce website via laptop, or in person at your physical store, omnichannel commerce guarantees that he or she experiences the same message, branding, and purchasing process.
Meanwhile, unified commerce solutions take this strategy a step further by uniting your business's back-end systems, and putting all of your data into a single consolidated platform. This solves one of the omnichannel commerce challenges: reconciling missing, contradictory, or duplicating customer data across several platforms.
How tokyobike uses unified commerce
After launching its online store with Shopify, Tokyobike transitioned to a unified commerce platform by moving its point-of-sale (POS) system to Shopify POS. As a consequence, Tokyobike was able to provide clients with varied shopping alternatives while managing all of its outlets via a single back end. As a result, its online store and physical locations are successfully synchronized.
There are no cards or paperwork to fill out now when customers come in for a test drive and leave without purchasing: their shopping cart is instantly waiting in their email inbox when they return home. Customers who begin their trip in-store may quickly finish it online when they're ready, lowering the chance of Tokyobike losing the transaction.
Tokyobike was formerly confined to stores in New York and Tokyo, but Shopify's unified platform enabled it to expand globally.
The benefits of unified commerce
Retailers employing a unified commerce platform can keep track of what's occurring throughout their whole business in real time with a single view of inventory, orders, and customer data, enabling them to make smart business choices that generate revenue. Customers benefit from always-updated product inventories as well as the freedom to explore, pay, and complete purchases whenever they see appropriate.
Create a flexible buying journey
With a single platform, your business may provide additional purchase and financing choices to clients at the point of sale. Online shoppers may add products to their baskets, apply a coupon code, and then choose in-store pickup if they want. Alternatively, like Tokyobike, you may send consumers their shopping carts after an in-store visit so they can finish their purchases from the comfort of their own homes.
Shipping may even be integrated into your POS system. 73 percent of clients desire order monitoring across several touchpoints. You may provide clients with a tracking number whether they complete a purchase in-store or online using Shopify POS and other unified commerce solutions. In brief, order administration gets easier—from acquiring products to order fulfillment to monitor.
Accurately track customer interactions with your brand
Before the internet, monitoring consumer behavior was restricted to keeping track of who walked into your store and what they bought. Customers now use an expanding number of channels before making a purchase, making the purchasing trip more difficult. You can monitor a consumer across all touchpoints with unified commerce, with each engagement being a chance to re-engage and nurture.
For example, someone may begin their trip by clicking on a Facebook ad. They may then make an account with your store, browse around, add anything to their basket, and leave. You may leverage all of the data from these interactions on a unified commerce platform to email them about the item in their basket, including information about your local shops. The consumer may then choose to buy via their cart or visit your physical store.
All customer involvement is monitored by the same system with unified commerce, so you won't lose critical insights into a customer's behavior when they travel between channels. This data may be used to better your ad targeting on social media and across the websites that your target audience visits.
You'll be able to provide a level of customization that will make your customers feel recognized and valued by your business. This personalization extends to the delivery of their shopping experience.
Tailor shopping experiences for customers
Customers nowadays demand personalization. Retailers may meet these customer expectations by personalizing their shopping experience and marketing messages using a single view of purchase history.
You may more precisely forecast future shopping behavior by using analytics to study customer activity across sales channels, proposing the right product to the right customer at the right time. This also aids in the development of comprehensive loyalty programs, since you will know what most appeals to your customers based on their shopping patterns.
Provide real-time product updates
Giving customers access to your products is really important. 94 percent of customers think they will stick with businesses that provide total transparency. How about being more open? Maintain precise inventory counts. This has a variety of advantages:
- Reliable stock information. It's infuriating as a customer to go into a store looking for an item you saw online only to discover it's not there. Unexpected stockouts might harm your reputation and cause you to lose customers permanently. Customers (and your team) have complete insight into whether or not a product is in stock when inventory information is provided across all channels. Indeed, 64% of customers choose a store based on the availability of clear, detectable product information.
- Pricing is always accurate. When you have many stores, you run the risk of price disparities across channels or locations. However, if your sales channels are in sync, you can quickly alter pricing and guarantee that they are precise and consistent throughout.
- Ability to order and move inventory based on demand. Customers cannot purchase what is not available. Accurate inventory information benefits you just as much as it benefits your customer, enabling you to identify what you need to purchase more of before you run out. With merchants losing roughly $1 trillion in sales owing to inventory difficulties, a thorough examination of inventory availability is critical.
Offer convenient exchanges and returns
You can create a great post-purchase experience for your customers by coordinating your online store and physical locations.
Unconnected systems result in disorganized accounting and inventories, as well as unpleasant customer experiences.
The ability to accept returns at any store location, regardless of where the products were initially bought, is a significant benefit that's simple to implement with Shopify POS and other unified systems. Offering a smooth return experience can enhance revenue and improve customer retention rates since 89% of repeat customers who have a positive return experience are likely to make another purchase.
More efficient staff management
The onboarding and staff of new employees are also made simpler by a uniform platform. Learning several systems often requires memorization of many logins, interfaces, and features. Employees can easily understand and apply the technology that enables your sales experience since everything is organized on a single platform. This is particularly crucial for companies with a high personnel turnover rate.
Due to automatic inventory updates and customer information tracking, you'll also lower the chance of user mistakes since employees will have less data input to handle.
You may also give your employees a PIN or log in to various sites. This enables you to keep an eye on their sales and provide further training to anybody who needs it.
Unified commerce is the future of retail
A unified commerce strategy's fundamental goal is to harmonize key customer touchpoints by coordinating your sales channels and streamlining your back-end processes, resulting in a seamless customer experience that feels like a natural extension of your brand.
The distinction between physical and online sales is erased when you're able to sell to everyone on one platform. Customers see purchases and fulfillment as fluid, and you and your staff won't have to manage segregated data or several unrelated technologies to manage your business. Customers won't only be appreciative of this smooth experience; they'll start to anticipate it. For instance, 60% of shopping trips nowadays start and conclude on different devices.
The time has come to think about using a single platform for all of your sales channels. Tokyobike was able to grow its business to new heights with the support of a unified commerce strategy, and you can too.
Grow your retail business with Shopify POS
The most flexible option for integrating your in-store and online sales is Shopify POS. Regain time to concentrate on the things that are most important to your business by delighting customers at every touchpoint.
Unified commerce FAQ
A unified commerce strategy focuses on centralizing all of your important data under a single platform, while an omnichannel strategy focuses on optimizing what a customer sees to create a consistent experience across all of your sales channels.
Customers may add products and promotions to their cart carts on a retailer's website using unified commerce, and they can use the same cart and promotions to complete their purchase on a mobile app.
At each point of the buyer's journey, unified commerce enables organizations to make the most of their data, avoiding missed opportunities and improving customer experience.