Unified Commerce in Australia: Bridging Online and Physical Retail

Ecommerce expansion continues rapidly across Australia. Yet over 80% of retail sales still occur in-store for most categories. Handicapped by the geographic spread, savvy retailers realise robust digital presences must interlink with extensive physical footprints to enable “anywhere” commerce.

Chains like Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Country Road are investing in unified commerce platforms that tightly stitch together digital and in-store systems. Breaking down long standing operational and data silos to provide consistent capabilities across engagement points. Much like smartphones subsumed earlier disparate devices like GPS, cameras and mp3s into one multifunctional intelligent device, unified commerce merges previously disconnected channel technologies into a singular smarter retail stack benefited by capabilities flowing seamlessly across domains.

Omnichannel Convenience First

Unifying inventory visibility and connecting order management enable core capabilities like buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) and ship-from-store which Rank Group brandsvish and Glue Store have adopted with strong outcomes. During pandemic lockdowns, electronics giant JB Hi-Fi enabled fulfilling online orders via their store network to leverage retail footprint as local depots with inventory optimally leveraged nationwide.

Decoupled Innovations

Leading apparel chain Country Road recently implemented headless commerce architecture, allowing their digital storefront layer to interact with legacy systems in stores and warehouses reliably via APIs. This facilitates much faster rollout of initiatives, allowing Country Road to launch digital flagship to support web, mobile and wholesale partnerships innovating experience while retaining core operations untouched. Physical and digital realms thus progress independently but consistently.

Consistency Across Journeys

Myer’s “Scan & Shop” mobile feature allows in-store customers to scan product tag barcodes to view additional colors/sizes available online before purchase. While nascent, this helps bridge engagement points to provide visibility expanding inventory beyond just physical aisles shoppers stand in.

What’s Next for Channel Integration

As consumers expect more personalised, convenient shopping everywhere, focus shifts to not just enabling omnichannel conveniences but making engagement invisible to shoppers across online-to-offline channels using location detection, historic data and mobile apps as universal shopper remotes.

Autonomous checkout using sensor fusion, in-field clienteling apps pulling cross-channel data insights for associates, AR powered virtual product trials in aisles using smartphones and IoT enabled supply chain optimisation will make commerce feel ambient and boundaryless.

Australian retailers pursuing tight channel integration beyond just omnichannel capabilities will shape the future of commerce in the country and deeper 1:1 relationships with consumers who traverse digital to physical worlds seamlessly.

As consumers flow across engagement points with growing expectations for consistent retail experiences, brands must adopt platforms enabling unified commerce.

Our Modern Commerce solutions powered by composable technology break down channel silos to seamlessly connect data, systems and processes enterprise-wide. We equip retailers with capabilities to bridge in-store and online operations and deliver true omnichannel convenience and consistency.

If you are an Australian retail executive assessing unified commerce, we offer an obligation-free demo for you to experience firsthand how our Modern Commerce approach can benefit your brand. Book a consultation today to discover integration capabilities that will future-proof business for the boundaryless retail era ahead.