digitalization e-commerce m-commerce omnichannel

Omnichannel Commerce: Opportunity and Challenge for Retailers


The importance of marketplaces in omnichannel commerce

Amazon announced in 2019 that Cyber Monday set new records worldwide and has become THE biggest shopping day in the company's history. In the recent past, Amazon has also blossomed into the first port of call for product searches. In addition to the marketplace giant, there are numerous other options — ebay, Rakuten, Real, Zalando and Otto, for example. Above all, they all offer retailers the following: existing infrastructures, including those of their popular shopping apps, and a large customer base. With the growth of m-commerce in particular, the marketplaces are likely to continue to gain in importance. After all, the apps from Amazon and ebay are already among the most popular in Germany, and Zalando is also in the top 10.


Inefficiently on the move in omnichannel retail

It is comparatively easy and quick to sell on Amazon and Co. But: Especially when retailers are pursuing a multi- or omnichannel strategy, this entails a complex technical infrastructure. Many retailers use outdated shop systems that are not designed for the requirements of highly automated e-commerce. In addition, every sales channel, whether marketplace, online shop or social media, works with a different system and different data formats and therefore has different integration requirements. In addition, there are retailer-specific third-party systems such as ERP, financial accounting, merchandise management and payment systems that need to be connected.

In order to integrate these many systems, many retailers often rely on complex in-house developments and various interfaces, which makes the entire system landscape even more complex, cumbersome and error-prone. Such developments are also time-consuming and difficult to maintain, which is a major weakness in fast-moving and ever-evolving e-commerce. In addition, there are organizational and personnel challenges that entail additional sales channels.


Integrated IT infrastructure for future-proof omnichannel commerce

In order for modern omnichannel commerce to actually work, i.e. to meet the demands of today's customers for a smooth shopping experience, numerous technical processes must first be reconciled in the background:

  • Many partners, such as third-party suppliers, shipping service providers and payment service providers, have to be managed. This requires a high level of interface competence (API, CSV, EDI, XML).
  • Each sales channel, for example online shop, app, marketplace and social media, has different requirements for integration, preparation of the product master data, returns management, payment etc.
  • Inventory levels must be kept up to date across all sales channels.
  • Various payment methods, including the processing of partial payments and the automated process of credit notes, have to be processed.
  • Various shipping options must be considered, such as shipping from the main warehouse, via third-party suppliers or external logisticians, Ship from Store or Click&Collect.
  • Various return options, such as home delivery and return in store, must work.
  • Inventory systems such as ERP, financial accounting, PIM, logistics and CRM that are not designed for e-commerce processes must be integrated or supplied with data.
  • It must be possible to answer customer inquiries and create tickets across all sales channels and dispatch warehouses.

All these processes must run smoothly — the customer must not notice anything. In fact, however, there are often unpleasant shopping experiences: ordered products are no longer available because incorrect stock levels lead to overselling. Or product information is incomplete or incorrect, which annoys customers and can lead to unnecessary returns. Errors like these, in turn, require the attention of employees.

This makes it all the more important for retailers to have an integrated technical infrastructure that prevents such errors and also reduces the personnel effort.



“Headless Commerce” makes true omnichannel possible in the first place

“The greatest perfection lies in simplicity,” said Leonardo Da Vinci. So-called headless commerce platforms such as the ROQQIO Commerce Cloud also start from this consideration: The backend platform decouples the entire e-commerce world from the existing systems and thus simplifies the technical infrastructure without having to replace it. It links the individual channels, ensures maximum automation and creates a central, flexible platform for all sales channels, which forwards all orders to the existing systems in a harmonized manner.

This decoupling significantly simplifies the integration of further channels and their scaling and also offers retailers a short time-to-market and great flexibility, because new requirements in e-commerce no longer affect the existing systems such as the ERP and are quite fast implement.

Another plus: All processes from order management to logistics control and payment to customer management, as well as all relevant data, flow together on the headless commerce platform. It therefore allows the central administration of all trading, shipping, storage and logistics processes.


Optimized customer experience in omnichannel commerce


Only a headless commerce system enables true omnichannel trade, because all processes are channel-independent and customer-centric. Retailers can view their sales channels as a whole and have a central view of all relevant data and processes. In addition, you can easily add additional sales channels, touchpoints or new shipping and return options and thus make the latest possibilities in omnichannel commerce quickly accessible to your customers. And at the end of the day, customers have a uniform, seamless shopping experience!

Martin Öztürk

Martin Öztürk

Martin Öztürk has a degree in computer science and has also completed an MBA degree - two areas that reflect his passion, namely to transfer the technical world into ideas for business models. From 2014 to 2021 he worked with his expertise at ROQQIO Commerce Cloud GmbH, where he advised interested parties and customers as a sales consultant in the field of automation of e-commerce backend processes and platform management.

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