Over the last few years, retail brand technology teams went on a spending spree. With non-essential stores closed, IT teams turned their attention to their eCommerce offerings and focused on improvements that would drive revenue based on changing consumer behavior. In addition to eCommerce, they gobbled up apps to help with in-store digitization, touchless experiences, inventory management, fulfillment and AR/VR adoption, among other things. 

But, now that the dust is settling, CTOs are feeling the effects of these decisions. It’s akin to getting that monthly credit card and wondering how things got so out of control. They are realizing that adding new technology as quickly as they did impacted not only their ability to easily access and leverage their data, but also to stay agile for the future of retail. 

And, they’re finding themselves further from their goal of a unified commerce platform because all the data from these new systems is living in silos.

What is a unified commerce platform?

A unified commerce platform provides the core technology that modern retailers need and is built to work with other systems – those in use today, and those that will be implemented in the future. And, a unified commerce platform ensures agility while providing amazing customer experiences and streamlined operations.  

What is the impact of data silos on retail organizations?

Data silos negatively impact a company’s bottom line, the customer experience, and employee satisfaction. 

The impact of data silos on your bottom line

The lack of real-time data integration impacts immediate and future revenue and costs. 

  1. Without a single customer profile across systems, retailers can’t provide the personalization that drives increased revenue. (Even worse, not recognizing your best customers can hurt loyalty.)
  2. Stock outs due to inefficient inventory management drives down sales.
  3. Sub-optimal pricing erodes revenue and margin.
  4. When data is inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date, employees make poor business decisions, and operational errors run rife – impacting both revenue and costs.
  5. And, let’s not forget higher costs caused by supporting a complex IT ecosystem.

The impact of data silos on the customer experience

The lack of real-time data integration diminishes loyalty. When data isn’t shared across platforms, customers have a disjointed experience that affects brand image and loyalty. 

As an example, imagine a customer’s frustration when they realize that the rewards program they signed up for isn’t reflecting online purchases but seems to always work when they shop in store. The money goes to the same brand — why aren’t they getting credit for all purchases?

Similarly, if you have ever tried to return an online purchase in a store and waited for what seems like eons for the salesperson to find your order and credit your card, you’re not alone. This is a classic case of multiple systems failing to communicate with one another at the back end.

The impact of data silos on employee satisfaction 

Life in stores isn’t a cake walk. In addition to merchandising and promotional activities that change daily, store teams also want to make sure customers have a good shopping experience. And all this is happening within a world of high turnover and the subsequent training of new team members. Without a unified commerce platform employees suffer from productivity erosion. 

Because systems in the store don’t speak with one another, retail teams often have to bridge the gap. They have to repeat work in multiple systems and copy data from one system into another. They also spend unnecessary time learning how to use different technology since each tool has its own login and UI. (Oh, and your staff might not be tech savvy. The fact is that no one went into retail to use cool technology, and they’re struggling to keep up with the tools you’re asking them to use. They’re frustrated. They’re tired.)

The solution

A completely integrated commerce platform, like KWI, provides one complete view of your customers and total control over inventory, orders, and payments. You deliver the same stunning customer experience online and in store. Every channel is fully connected. Best of all, it’s designed with your store associates, ecommerce wizards, back-office  and IT teams in mind.

Visit KWI.com for more info and contact us for a free consultation with our retail experts.