Unified Commerce: Retail + E-commerce = more sales

22 October, 2019

The retail sector loses about 3 billion euros worldwide every year through incomplete and unsatisfactory purchasing processes and the absence of unified commerce choices.
The future of retail is in the implementation of omnichannel or unified commerce solutions, as well as the successful customisation of the shopping experience.
The main reasons* for the loss of retail profitability include the following:

table unified commerce

  • Shoppers are now more connected than ever, and they expect retailers to have higher levels of sophistication and improvements in the experiences they provide, avoiding problems when making purchases, and streamlining and simplifying processes.
  • Consumers want to buy wherever and whenever they want, pay how they want and receive the product as efficiently as possible.
  • Retailers should be focusing on improving their experience and placing the customer at the very centre of every interaction, making sure that the purchasing process is consistent no matter the sales channel.
  • Brands are therefore facing the need to develop their physical and online stores at the same time, to complement them and meet the satisfaction needs of their buyers on both channels.

Unified Commerce; a global opportunity

The Omnichannel, that is to say, the true blending of the online world (e-commerce) and the physical world (retail), will be the big turning point in the sector, since the consumer uses both channels and often makes trips from one channel to another several times before making the purchase. This highlights the need for companies to have systems that show inventory availability in real time.

Unique, real-time stock

As for the reasons that result in the lack of purchase in physical stores, without a doubt the lack of stock is one of the big ones.
Here are some facts to bear in mind:

  • 9 out of 10 shoppers have left the physical store without buying for this reason.
  • 40% of shoppers are willing to come up with an intermediate solution. In this way, they ask for and pay for a product not physically available so that they can receive it at home, mimicking the e-commerce model.
  • 51% of shoppers would be more loyal if they could check the available stock online before going to the physical store.

Managing inventory and logistics is key for companies

Improving the accuracy of stock so that their customers can enjoy a perfect omnichannel experience and speeding up deliveries is a priority. The suitable management of inventory is one of the key factors to making sure everything works well.
Fashion brands and retailers are losing 3 billion euros a year due to their failure to optimise parts of their sales process that consumers don't like and which negatively impact their loyalty. The reason is that many companies are not capable of offering a personalised and fluid experience in their different sales channels.

Understanding the Spanish consumers

spanish consumer table

  • Shoppers do not show a strong preference between physical establishments and online shopping.
  • Today's consumers still greatly value the physical store experience, with nearly two in five (37%) opting to shop in an establishment rather than through e-commerce, while 30% of respondents prefer to buy online.
  • Shoppers prefer going to a physical location to buy fashion, luxury, beauty and hotel-restaurant products.
  • Retailers that prioritise efficiency and implement systems that eliminate queues (such as payment kiosks or mobile point-of-sale terminals) can benefit greatly in terms of user traffic, sales, and customer loyalty."
RETAIL as leverage to grow online

It is necessary to prioritise stores with high quality in sales (rather than quantity) which serve as leverage to grow online. Inditex follows a strategy of optimising its retail presence which is based on growth in quality and surface area more than in quantity, absorbing its small stores into fewer but larger establishments, located in the best locations of each city.
This is underpinned by the upward trend in online commerce where larger stores play a key role in supporting digital growth in terms of deliveries, returns, and even serving as warehousing from where they can deliver e-commerce orders.
*“The average surface area of a Zara store has increased by 50% since 2012, from 1,452 to 2,184 square metres”,
says Pablo Isla, president of Inditex in his statements to the Spanish newspaper Expansión*, who insists on the importance of a single stock and the integration of stores with online business.
This is strategy for a real growth in sales and not right upon opening, which often gives a false appearance of growth.