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Unified Commerce the Goal for Retailers

Different retailers sell different products, but most appear to have one thing in common: the desire to implement a unified commerce platform.

A new study conducted by the National Retail Federation shows that 53 percent of U.S., European and Australian retail businesses expect to put in place a unified commerce platform in the next few years. During the next 10 years, 86 percent of those surveyed (from a group of 300 executives) plan to implement a unified commerce platform.

The retailers that were surveyed by the NRF anticipate that margins, brand value and revenue will improve by unifying their point-of-sale, e-commerce and other consumer-facing platforms. More than half (52 percent) of the retailers foresee significant improvement to controllable items that directly impact margin, including inventory turn and returns, while close to half (46 percent) expect to see increases in brand value, specifically significant improvements due to positive impact on total customer value and their Net Promoter Score. Approximately four out of every 10 (38 percent) surveyed believe that significant improvements will occur in average order value, promotional redemption and conversion rates.

Additionally, the retailers expect that consolidating historically disparate technologies — including POS, e-commerce, call center and mobile — into a single commerce platform would drive improvements in IT innovation and efficiency. The specific numbers break down thusly: two in five (45 percent) retailers that were surveyed anticipate significant improvement in their ability to meet business demands faster, while another 35 percent say they foresee IT efficiency improvements including data security, maintenance costs and infrastructure.

Seven in every 10 (72 percent) of the retailers survey already have in the works a transformation to a single commerce platform, whether they’re merely conducting initial research or are further along in developing the business. Thirteen percent of the retailers identified themselves as being in the exploration phase to some degree, while 23 percent find themselves actively discussing the viability of a unified commerce platform. More than one-third (36 percent) identify as being in the development stage of a formal plan, and the remaining 22 percent describe themselves as already in the execution or realization phases.

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