A checklist for your Unified Commerce strategy

When you create a strategy for your e-commerce business, and the main goal is to provide a seamless customer experience, I believe there are some key areas you need to consider.

By doing so, you will be able to increase your chances of creating a Unified Commerce strategy that enables customers to shop on their own terms. Using this checklist provides you with an ideal oppounity to approach your ecommerce strategy from both your customers and your company's perspective. Here is the checklist in 4 different steps:

1. Start with a vision

I recommend that you start with a vision; where you want to be in the future. This vision should be attractive, and reachable. A really good vision also includes a purpose for the company. It could also include figures that motivate your vision. These can be hard figures, meaning numbers, or soft figures such as a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)Your vision will benefit from being “visualised”, and iis also wise to include the benefits for your customers.

I believe you should include the right stakeholders at this stage and get them involved them when it comes to working on the vision. And last but not least; anchor the vision amongst your top management. As e-commerce is the core strategy for many companies and it affects many parts of an organisation, this should not be too difficult.

2. Perform an As-Is analysis

In order to know where you’re going, a good start is an As-Is analysis. Tools you can use for this include the SWOT model (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), covering where you are now and where you want to go (Vision). You can also use the PEST model (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological) to analyse your status quo.

It’s important to understand the situation concerning your legacy system. Therefore you need to map out the existing system flora and what the key integrations are, since these will be an important foundation in the next phase. This is also important as it helps you understand what's working well and whats not and why.

3. Conduct a Unified Commerce analysis

When you carry out your Unified Commerce analysis, there are certain areas you should check you have covered - or confirm that there is no need to cover. However, these areas consist of different opportunities, functionalities, complexity, channel integrations, and the need for system support and a lot more. Unified Commerce is all about providing an optimised shopping experience across all touchpoints and contacts with the customer.

Therefore every area should end up with identified activities, functionalities, definitions of how to fulfill customer needs or likewise. This allows yout to estimate, prioritise and budget what to do in the next steps. This is what I recommend you go through when conducting your Unified Commerce analysis:

  • e-Commerce
  • Product information management
  • Order management
  • Customer relationship management
  • User experience
  • Content
  • Digital marketing
  • Digital in store
  • Point of sales
  • Payments
  • Analytics / analysis
  • Marketplaces
  • Customer service
  • Logistics
  • Cross channel
  • Internationalisation
  • Architecture
  • Requirement gathering & analysis
  • Organisation

4. Build the business case

An important part of your Unified Commerce strategy involves building a business case. What are the benefits, opportunities and the value of the proposed strategy and activities? How can you measure success? How can you make the case and what does it cost in the short and long term? And what resources are needed?

When it comes to Unified Commerce strategy you can benefit from thinking about it as a program and in terms of roadmap where you need to do things in a certain order. You may for example need to think about an infrastructure for certain areas before you can take the next step. This is common when it comes to a more extensive strategy that has a major impact on the organisation.

Depending on how complex your strategy is to implement, you will be able to choose between different models. You can use tools such as a/an: effect modelcost benefit analysisROI (return on investment), business impact analysisbusiness model canvas, business case priority model, and more. You can also include measurement methods such as a customer satisfaction index, an employee satisfaction index, internal efficiency and more. Good luck with your Unified Commerce strategy.