The Challenges with Unified Commerce Retail Technology
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Categories: Thought Leadership

The Challenges With Unified Commerce Retail Technology

Truth be told, it isn’t that unified commerce retail technology is a challenge. Rather, the challenge is in putting all your retail eggs in one basket. Unified commerce is fine when pursued it as a converged commerce strategy. Putting your entire faith in one singular unified commerce (SUC) vendor, however – that is hear of the real problem.

Converged Commerce – What’s That? Converged Commerce is a Unified Commerce retail system built with best-in-class technology

Retail’s converged commerce is a performance based, unified commerce retail system built with best-in-class technology. Think of it along the lines of a Formula One racing car. These systems are built with performance in mind. A single manufacturer no longer builds today’s cars. They take the best possible technologies and sub-assemblies from best-of-breed vendors and build the ‘ultimate’ systems.


Read More: The Rise of Converged Commerce


I am in Retail NOT Formula One Racing!

You are right to think this. You are in retail – another hypercompetitive industry. Maybe you don’t even need the highest performance system in the universe. But, take the opposite perspective for a moment. How would you feel if you were the decision maker choosing the worst system in all of retail? When you work with SUC vendors, they may be exceptional at POS systems, but are they any good at the rest? Why risk being stuck with one vendor with a system that really isn’t built to integrate with other solutions other than its own?

Frankenstein Systems?

How would you feel if you were the decision make choosing the worst system in all of retail?Yes, SUC vendors often refer to converge commerce as Frankenstein systems. Yes, amusing. Cute analogy, even. Yet, the criticism that converged commerce is built on systems that don’t talk to each other, is just flat out wrong. Let’s clarify that integrating these systems does NOT bring cracks into your seamless solution.

This was true in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. At that time integrations were a mystical science. Sometimes it worked. At others, it did not. Since then API technology, webservices, middleware, LINK systems, connector cartridges and communication microservices have all advanced. Quality systems integrators are exceptionally talented at making best-in-class technologies work seamlessly together. And, they have a large variety of tools to make it happen.


Related: Distributed Order Management


Rip & Replace Download CIO Guide

As a retailer, you need to be conscious of your costs and return on investment. Part of the SUC philosophy is to rip out all existing infrastructure. Intuitively, it sounds compelling. Clear the slate. Then the new system will do it all better. Sounds good, until you realize that it will take you 24+ months to complete. That’s two years of continual changes, training, retraining, quality testing, and distractions for your organization. Worst of all, once you have it all done, your first task will be to upgrade the system!

Jack of All trades = Master of None

Remember the wise old saying about the ‘Jack of all trades’? Similarly, just because a POS vendor thinks they can build an order management system – doesn’t mean they will get it right. Rather than taking this risk, look instead to the best-of-breed providers. These a systems integrator can pull together for a true performance-based and seamless converged commerce solution.


Read More: 3 Reasons You Want a Standalone OMS 


Choice is Yours…

Unified commerce is a great concept. It gives retailers the ability to make omni-channel retail a reality. But, there is a smart way and a dumb way to go about achieving it. Signing up with a single vendor who creates it all in-house, can be a limiting choice. Yes, vendors who Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) the industry’s best technologies, have a viable plan with your best interests in mind. Given the choice, don’t fall for the ‘Frankenstein’ rhetoric. Yes, it is funny. But seriously, making a converged commerce choice can be a career builder. Cherry pick the best technologies available. Remember, Formula One racing teams take a converged technology strategy. Like these teams, converged commerce will have your brand race ahead of those who fell for the SUC pitch.



Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is the VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, Director Sales and Category Management for ecommerce and channel goods. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.