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the role of marketing in unified commerce
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Marketing’s Role in Unified Commerce

In the world of Unified Commerce technology, everything is Marketing

Ok, so maybe not everything is Marketing, but when attempting to deliver Unified Commerce experiences, every technology decision should consider Marketing. The entire point of investing in Unified Commerce is to unify each shopper’s experience with the brand, beginning with their initial impression and continuing through to post-purchase support and pretty much everything in between. And Marketing, of course, is responsible for the brand. Therefore, pretty much every Unified Commerce technology decision should be made with (at least!) an eye to how it will impact marketing.

Despite appearances to the contrary, almost everything impacts Marketing

Still not convinced? Let’s look at a few examples of decisions integral to delivering Unified Commerce experiences that I often see retailers make without integrating Marketing into the process:

  • Technology platform: Sure, that’s clearly an IT decision. But that decision will determine how quickly the business can adapt to shifting customer expectations, which is of course, Marketing.
  • Order Management: Any number of departments can – and typically do – have an influence on order management decisions. Logistics, operations, and eCommerce all have a stake in the tools that will be used to source, route, fulfill and monitor orders. Marketing, however, has to determine which fulfillment options to offer customers in which channels, and therefore should have a very strong voice in any OMS decisions.
  • Sales Audit: While it may seem like a stretch to suggest considering Marketing in a sales audit technology decision, sales audit is the literal gateway to Unified Commerce. All sales channels, both existing and new, must connect to the enterprise through sales audit. Cross-channel transactions (e.g. buy online, return in store, reserve online, pickup in store) require effective and agile sales audit tools to empower customers to shop when, where and how they choose. All of which impacts Marketing strategy and tactics.
  • Merchandising: Certainly, merchants must drive merchandising technology decisions. But, if assortments are the embodiment of a brand promise brought to life, then Marketing needs to be part of this decision. Price lines, collections, vendors, promotions, localized assortments and markdowns are all merchandising processes that directly impact customer perceptions of and experiences with the brand. And if it affects brand, it affects Marketing.
  • Point of Sale: This is simple: how can Marketing not be deeply involved in any technology decision where the technology impacts somewhere around 80% of the brand’s revenue?

I could go on, but clearly, Marketing is impacted by almost every technology decision in this burgeoning era of Unified Commerce. It’s imperative, then, that we make technology decisions that enable Marketing to consistently design the experiences that customers demand.

Six things Marketers need from technology in the era of Unified Commerce

So, what do modern marketers need to achieve their Unified Commerce objectives? Here’s a short list of a few of their key requirements:

  1. Identify the channels, touchpoints, locations and devices that entice the most customers to interact, shop and buy.
  2. Measure those customer experiences, including conversion rate, rate of return, revenue growth, average delivery times and satisfaction scores.
  3. The ability to incentivize and reward omnichannel behaviors to create more opportunities to interact, engage and convert shoppers into customers.
  4. Customer data available at every touchpoint in order to personalize every interaction.
  5. Identify the fulfillment options that will resonate with customers in each channel and measure the effectiveness and efficiency of each order.
  6. Determine the most beneficial moments in the customer journey to add value through differentiated experiences culled from customer, store and associate feedback.

The rules have definitely changed. Expectations have expanded. It’s no longer just about the products you sell or the story you tell, but the experiences you create to put your customers at the center of the story, and how your products move their story forward. That comes with a lot of complexity. Not only are there a seemingly infinite number of possible steps in the customer journey, but there is a growing list of channels where they can take place. Marketing is tasked with a huge job: to tell a singular, customer-centric story to a massive customer base, scattered across and jumping between channels without a common pattern.

A new world of Marketing opportunities...if we engage early

Unified Commerce technology decisions can really help Marketing teams enhance and boost their value proposition with cohesive experiences that are as personalized to the customer as they are distinct to your brand. Unified Commerce offers Marketing a whole new world of opportunities and options to design compelling experiences. If we engage them early in technology decisions, we give them every chance to successfully exploit those opportunities. Which is the whole point of Unified Commerce investments.

Because while Marketing may not be all the things, it’s definitely integral to a lot of the things.


Editor’s Note: Aptos has compiled a comprehensive list of recommendations and suggestions for Marketers embarking on Unified Commerce journeys. The list is based on our experiences helping hundreds of brands achieve their Unified Commerce objectives. To learn more, download Preparing your Retail Enterprise for Unified Commerce, our definitive guide to organizational readiness, adoption and implementation.