Achieve Omnichannel Success with Unified Commerce Middleware

Last updated on May 3rd, 2024 at 07:25 am

Consider how different your business might be if every sale or customer experience were seamless, whether they took place online, over the phone, or in store. That’s the power of unified commerce, a key strategy for modern retail businesses that’s more than just convenient-it’s crucial for staying ahead in a competitive industry. This article cuts through the complexity to show you why a single, combined system is vital for seamless operations and how it can change the way you work.

What is unified commerce and why is it important?

Unified commerce refers to a retail strategy that provides customers with smooth and steady shopping experiences across all channels, including online, mobile, and physical stores. This combined approach enables retailers to deliver personalized interactions to each shopper by using a single view of critical business data across systems and contact points.

With the retail landscape changing rapidly, retailers face huge pressure to adapt. However, separated systems with inconsistent data often get in the way of delivering great shopping journeys.

Unified commerce aims to solve these problems by connecting vital information into one source of truth.

Definition of unified commerce

Unified commerce centers around a single commerce platform that unites all systems and channels to deliver frictionless customer experiences. It enables you to manage your entire retail operation including inventory, order processing, customer data, promotions, fulfillment, payments and more through one integrated solution.

This provides you with a thorough view of your business so you can make data-driven decisions to boost efficiency and growth. Unified commerce breaks down channel divisions to power seamless omnichannel retail.

For instance, personalized recommendations can be delivered across web, mobile and in-store based on integrated customer data. Fulfillment options like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) become possible by connecting inventory across channels.

Single view of stock, customers, and payments

A fundamental value proposition of unified commerce is providing retailers with real-time visibility into vital business data via a single commerce platform and dashboard.

Inventory Visibility: Get accurate, real-time insights into stock levels and availability across your entire retail ecosystem. This helps optimize supply chain and inventory planning while reducing out of stocks.

Customer Profiles: Create a unified customer profile including data like transaction history, preferences, demographics and engagement across all channels. This 360-degree view of each shopper enables hyper-personalized recommendations and tailored promotions to boost sales.

Payments: Streamline payment processing by managing all payment options including credit cards, digital wallets, cash etc. in one place. This makes checkout seamless for customers while giving retailers consolidated revenue insights.

Unified commerce brings together the very data that allows retailers to transform fragmented, inconsistent experiences into seamless personalized journeys – regardless of channel.

By centralizing inventory availability, customer profiles and payments onto a single commerce platform, it lays the foundation for omnichannel excellence.

This unified data insights empower you to understand each customer as an individual. In turn, you can deliver tailored recommendations and experiences designed around their preferences across web, mobile and stores.

Unified commerce breaks down channel divisions that have long hindered exceptional shopping. With enterprise-wide inventory and order visibility connecting systems, fulfilling customer needs is streamlined.

The stage is set for unified commerce to facilitate truly integrated omnichannel retail.

What is omnichannel retail

Delivering great shopping experiences is vital for retailers today. However, enabling seamless omnichannel journeys remains an immense challenge.

Research shows that nearly 90% of customers expect unified interactions when engaging with brands across web, mobile, stores and other touchpoints. Yet disconnected systems with inconsistent data often get in the way of the level of integration required to meet these ambitious omnichannel expectations.

So what exactly is omnichannel retail? And how does the approach differ from unified commerce?

What is omnichannel retail and how is it different from unified commerce

Omnichannel retail refers to the ability for customers to interact and buy from brands across multiple connected channels.

This includes physical stores, e-commerce sites, mobile apps, social media, and new channels like smart home devices.

The main goal is to connect these touchpoints into a single smooth experience for shoppers.

Key aspects like integration of channels, inventory visibility across the retail ecosystem, consistent customer data and personalized recommendations are trademarks of omnichannel retail. The aim is to put customers first – meeting their needs online and offline while enabling them to shop anytime, anywhere.

In contrast, unified commerce takes a more complete approach – centralizing all systems and data management on a single commerce platform.

This moves beyond connecting just customer-facing channels to also include vital backend infrastructure.

Unified commerce breaks down divisions between channels, systems and data sources.

The centralized foundation empowers retailers to deliver seamless omnichannel successfully.

Unified commerce enables the omnichannel experience by integrating all channels

Unified commerce lays an important foundation for omnichannel success – real-time connection of backend systems powering customer-facing touchpoints.

By breaking down channel divisions, retailers gain an integrated view of business operations. This powers smooth omnichannel experiences.

For instance, stock visibility connecting inventory systems across all locations enables capabilities like buy online pickup in store (BOPIS).

Similarly, centralized customer data from different systems makes possible personalized recommendations across channels.

Unified commerce essentially enables retailers to deliver great omnichannel experiences through deep integration powered by a single commerce platform.

The integrated data foundation gives you the tools to provide tailored recommendations to each customer based on their preferences. However, few retailers have actually achieved this omnichannel ideal in practice.

Disconnected systems with fragmented data often obstruct integration efforts. This leaves retailers struggling to deliver unified brand experiences.

So how can you overcome these barriers to realize advanced omnichannel capabilities? We will tackle these pressing questions around implementation challenges and explore potential solutions in the next section.

Challenges of achieving unified commerce

Enabling great omnichannel retail depends on unified commerce – breaking down channel divisions to create connected systems and data. This powers smooth customer experiences.

However, the path towards unified models has many huge barriers – from fragmented data to old system challenges.

Even with big benefits, only around 40% of retailers believe current operations can support unified commerce. Many complex obstacles across old platforms, data, teams and compliance make progress very hard.

For retailers working to enable excellent omnichannel experience, overcoming these systemic barriers is crucial. So let’s explore the key challenges more closely – uncovering issues around legacy systems, data integration and misaligned organizations.

Businesses often have multiple software platforms (Email platforms, CRM, CMS etc)

A core challenge is unifying fragmented systems running operations:

Legacy Platform Problems

Many retailers deeply rely on old, customized legacy systems like ERP and POS.

But moving from legacy infrastructure is very hard.

Yet outdated technology often severely limits customer experience abilities.

Transitioning e-commerce platforms to support unified models also causes huge challenges. Retailers aiming to deliver great omnichannel journeys increasingly understand modernizing legacy systems enables progress.

Unconnected Data

Reaching unified commerce requires connecting data across core systems – from order management to inventory, CRM, CMS and more.

However, systemic data quality and integration issues block efforts. Cleansing, normalizing, and efficiently combining company-wide data at scale remains enormously difficult.

Split Up Teams & Metrics

Ecommerce, retail store, and supply chain teams often work in operational silos. This prevents the company-wide teamwork unified models demand.

Mismatched metrics and lacking shared vision frequently hurt critical coordination.

Ensuring unified KPIs to get cross-functional orchestration is vital.

As you work to meet rising customer hopes through connected omnichannel retail, modernizing old systems and unifying fragmented systems are key steps along the journey.

While the road has huge complexity, overcoming these barriers stays crucial, albeit very hard.

Yet the big effort promises huge unlocked potential – enabling you to deliver the smooth, great shopping experiences today’s buyers expect.

Benefits of unified commerce

Omnichannel retail depends on the ability to deliver unified brand interactions across all channels – both digital and physical. However, disconnects between data and systems severely obstruct these efforts, leaving retailers struggling to power seamless journeys as customers transition between touchpoints.

Based on surveys by Statista, less than a quarter of retailers consider unified commerce to be much of a priority, despite the majority of customers expecting a consistent shopping experience from brands. This enormous gap highlights immense unmet expectations and lost revenue opportunities.

Unified commerce presents a solution – breaking down divisions by connecting all commerce data into a single platform. This consolidated foundation lays the groundwork for exceptional omnichannel experience, enabling retailers to exceed customer hopes and drive sales growth.

Seamless omnichannel journeys

The core value of unified models is powering seamless transitions for customers across channels. By integrating data flows across the retail ecosystem, unified commerce unlocks a myriad of capabilities for smooth omnichannel excellence:

Web-to-Store Continuity

Unified customer profiles bridge online behaviors with in-store interactions. Sales associates access integrated data to continue conversations, provide personalized recommendations and tailor promotions based on each shoppers interests.

Inventory Visibility

Connecting real-time inventory data across all locations and channels powers services like buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS). Shoppers can purchase items online and conveniently collect them from a neighborhood store.

Consistent Prices & Promotions

Centralizing pricing and promotions enables consistent messaging across touchpoints avoiding frustrating inconsistencies. Customers receive the same offers whether they first engage on your website or visit a store.

By facilitating seamless transitions powered by integrated data, unified commerce allows delivering exceptional omnichannel experiences that cement loyalty by exceeding buyer expectations. This drives increased average order values, conversion rates and customer lifetime value – unlocking immense revenue potential.

However, while delivering immense upside, huge obstacles frequently stand in the way of unified commerce implementation.

Attempting to bridge years of legacy infrastructure and disconnected data almost always proves enormously complex. In fact, few retailers have flexible POS and inventory management systems required to enable unified models.

So despite vast potential gains, achieving unified foundations capable of powering seamless omnichannel remains a pivotal yet enormously difficult challenge for most businesses.

This stark gap between possibility and market reality underscores the need for solutions that ease barriers to unified commerce.

So how can retailers work to overcome divides to tap into immense upside?

Let’s explore options for simplifying implementation next.

How can businesses implement unified commerce?

Achieving unified commerce depends on deep connection of systems and data – connecting vital flows across inventory, order management, customer profiles and more. This enables powering seamless omnichannel journeys.

However, barriers around legacy platforms, fragmented data and manual processes frequently obstruct efforts.

So how can you simplify the enormously complex task of implementation to realize unified models?

Middleware solutions like enterprise application integration (EAI) can act as the connective glue for easing system unification.

EAI offers essential technologies to tie together all the platforms retailers rely on for operations – from point of sales (POS) to inventory management, CRM, CMS and beyond.

This lays a robust foundation for omnichannel excellence.

Middleware solutions

Middleware refers to software that enables communication and data flow between applications across an organization. It connects varied software systems, coordinating integrated information sharing.

Retailers depend on many mission-critical enterprise platforms – from e-commerce and POS to pricing engines and inventory databases. Middleware solutions integrate these systems, allowing seamless interoperability.

Efficient data exchange, process automation, and access to real-time information is powered by robust middleware.

It acts as the all-important glue binding systems together into a unified landscape.

This connectivity is the cornerstone of unified commerce implementation.

EAI (Enterprise Application Integration)

Enterprise application integration (EAI) offers a specialized type of middleware focused exclusively on unifying systems across companies. It seamlessly connects crucial software like Email, CRM, CMS, ERP and e-commerce platforms underlying retail operations.

For example, customer relationship management (CRM) systems house huge amounts of data on buyer behaviors and preferences. Yet often this vital information stays trapped in data silos, unable to efficiently flow into online stores or mobile apps to personalize experiences.

EAI enables real-time circulation of CRM data across all customer touchpoints. This powers hyper-personalized omnichannel interactions tailored to individual shopper interests.

Additionally, EAI allows automating intricate processes like order routing and inventory allocation based on predefined business rules. This reduces manual efforts while accelerating cycle times.

EAI essentially serves as the connective bridge between all enterprise applications – ensuring information readily flows where needed to inform decisions and processes. This lays the groundwork for exceptional unified commerce.

Features businesses should look for in a middleware solution

To enable omnichannel success, retailers need robust middleware for system connectivity. Core must-have capabilities include:

Real-time data synchronization to enable up-to-date system-wide circulation of information

Inventory visibility and control across all locations and channels

Streamlined order management and tracking as purchases flow through varied systems

Flexibility to scale operations and seamlessly onboard new systems

Tying together critical systems depends on the strength of middleware as the connective glue. Choosing a platform with robust integration capabilities provides the foundation for unified commerce and omnichannel success.

As you evaluate options, seek solutions equipped with enterprise-grade middleware for real-time data flows. The right unified commerce platform will seamlessly link your infrastructure while offering flexibility to manage future needs.

What to look for in a Unified Commerce Platform

Picking a unified commerce platform is hard. With a lot on the line, finding a business-grade system ready for omnichannel complexity is key.

When looking at choices, focus on unified commerce middleware with strong core features and many integrations.

Key capabilities

Inventory Visibility

Look for systems giving real-time visibility into stock levels and availability across your whole retail ecosystem including stores, warehouses, suppliers and more. This unified view allows optimizing vital omnichannel services like buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) which depend on accurate cross-channel data.


Seek flexible commerce middleware that can scale operations while adding modern platforms as you grow. Changing business needs require that core infrastructure stays future-proofed to link new technologies.

Order Tracking

Strong order life cycle management and tracking across every channel, division and third-party partner is a must. This allows process visibility as purchases go through complex backend systems.


Number of Integrations

More integrations means greater system connectivity to inform decisions and allow unified capabilities. Prioritize solutions offering hundreds of pre-built connectors.

Supplier & Marketplace Links

Look for current marketplace and dropship vendor integrations that expand product range while allowing inventory visibility across external supplier warehouses.

Fulfillment Networks

Pre-built connections with major shipping carriers allows tracking orders to final delivery – offering customers transparency while enabling customer service.

Unified commerce depends on connecting the data, systems, and processes enabling seamless omnichannel experiences.

Choose a future-ready platform with strong order tracking, inventory visibility, and the flexibility to scale retail complexity.

With hundreds of integrations linking commerce ecosystem touchpoints, great unified foundations are possible.

This connectivity provides the backend infrastructure to enable seamless omnichannel interactions.

Achieving omnichannel success

While unified commerce lays an important foundation by connecting systems, retailers must also sharpen strategies across organizations to go beyond customer hopes.

Getting executive endorsement along with coordinated staff training builds critical organizational alignment towards omnichannel goals. This allows channel-neutral, customer-focused mindsets.

However, the work does not stop there. Smart retailers also use continual feedback loops to step-by-step improve execution over time.

Getting buy-in across the organization

A unified commerce platform provides the backend structure to enable excellent omnichannel trips. Yet realizing the full potential depends on retailers promoting these capabilities internally and optimizing staff readiness.

Gaining executive sponsorship signals an order from the top on the importance of omnichannel retail.

This helps get vital funding while inspiring company-wide buy-in.

Consider appointing dedicated leaders to spearhead training.

Provide extensive education across teams on your omnichannel vision and strategy. Ensure staff understand how to take advantage of unified foundations to deliver personalized cross-channel experiences.

Ingrain core values of putting the customer first no matter channel engagement – online, in-store or across touchpoints.

Additionally, start shared metrics and KPIs that reinforce omnichannel goals like customer retention and lifetime value rather than channel-specific targets.

Continual improvement

While robust strategies allow initial success, smart retailers also use continual feedback loops to step-by-step improve execution over time.

Actively collect customer input on interactions across touchpoints via surveys and support channels. Ask clear questions to uncover areas for better integration or channel consistency issues.

Analyze feedback to identity trouble spots and emerging needs. Brainstorm innovative features to exceed expectations.

Rapidly implement changes to address pain points. For example, roll out buy online pickup in store if customers desire that flexible fulfillment option.

Closely monitor key metrics pre and post-launch to quantify impact. This demonstrates ROI on enhancements while informing future strategies.

Continually optimizing your omnichannel approach over time is key, but progress also depends on the unified commerce solution powering efforts.

As you evaluate options, prioritize robust platforms ready for retail complexity today and into the future. Seek enterprise-grade foundations equipped to handle your current infrastructure while allowing flexibility for future innovation and expanded capabilities when needed.

Flxpoint’s unified commerce platform

Looking for strong unified commerce foundations ready for the future is key for long-term omnichannel success. One solution standing out is Flxpoint – offering business-grade capabilities fit for retail complexity across systems, data and customer experiences.

Key features and capabilities

Flxpoint unlocks essential omnichannel functions:

Real-Time Data Sharing

Continuous data syncing across all systems enables personalized recommendations using live shopper information. This prevents frustrating inconsistencies from fragmented data.

Intelligent Process Automation

Streamlined order processing reduces manual efforts by efficiently handling key tasks. This allows focusing strategic thinking on high-level decision making to guide future success.

Complete Inventory Transparency

Flxpoint’s distributed inventory management solution gives visibility across channels into detailed stock levels across your entire retail ecosystem – from stores to warehouses to external supplier inventories. This powers vital omnichannel services like BOPIS which depend on understanding exact product availability everywhere.

Smooth Scalability

Flexibility to readily scale operations positions you for growth over time.

Easily add locations, partners, and new technology integrations as your needs change.

Flxpoint’s unified commerce platform seamlessly adapts to your roadmap.


With over 250+ pre-built integrations, Flxpoint connects the many platforms retailers rely on – from Shopify to Magento along with custom legacy systems still powering operations. This prevents information silos obstructing omnichannel efforts.

Plug-and-play connections to major online marketplaces, dropship vendors and 3PL shipping providers expand product range while allowing detailed order tracking all the way to final delivery. This brings transaction transparency across your ecosystem.

Closing Thoughts

If you want to sync your sales channels and data in real-time, cut down on manual work, and easily see every stock amount, you’ll need a good unified commerce platform.

Flxpoint gives you these features and the connections you need for smooth sales across channels.

Don’t let separated systems hold back your business. Check out middleware like Flxpoint to streamline your operations and keep up with the future needs of retail.

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