Want Unified Commerce? Part 3: Let’s Talk about Your Ecommerce Architecture

Xavier MougeotBlog

Xavier Mougeot
By Xavier Mougeot
Global Managing Director
Logic’s Digital practice

In the digital age, there is no longer any doubt that the ability to deliver unified commerce is a critical factor in driving customer conversion and loyalty. A recent study found that shoppers who initiate engagement with a retailer via a product search are 33% more likely to convert. On the other hand, 37% of shoppers will quickly search elsewhere if the product they want is out-of-stock. Yet only a reported 26% of retailers have high level of satisfaction with their current e-commerce technology.

In previous posts in this series, we covered unified inventory and omnichannel enablement. This post explores the third critical element for achieving unified commerce: modern ecommerce architecture. As McKinsey recently reported, “Best-in-class retailers have been able to deliver a distinctive, consistent customer experience across channels by migrating to a headless commerce architecture.”

#3 Modernizing Your Architecture for Unified Commerce

If inventory is the back office and omnichannel is the front office, then ecommerce architecture is what makes all of the offices possible—everything you count on in an office like the walls, the furniture, and so on. Older offices may have plaster or even concrete interior walls. You don’t want to tear these down if you don’t have to. Other offices are completely modular, and reconfiguring to meet your company’s changing needs is a breeze.

In the modern retail landscape, competition is fluid, and customer wants and needs are dynamic. To succeed, you want to be in a position to reconfigure easily, just like the modular office: rolling out new products, programs, and customer experiences. This can be challenging to achieve with old architecture alone. It doesn’t have the capability, agility, or cost efficiency. It can also be costly to maintain, especially as your integrations become more complex.

For many retailers, the idea of tearing down their old ecommerce architecture and replacing it can be daunting. “Best-in-class retailers have been able to deliver a distinctive, consistent customer experience across channels by migrating to a headless commerce architecture,” argue McKinsey analysts. The good news is, it’s easier than ever to move to modernized architecture incrementally, in lockstep with the front-end value it’s delivering for your business. And you can extend the life of your legacy systems at the same time. There are two main reasons why.

Ecommerce Architecture: Rip and Replace Is a Thing of the Past

First, in most cases, rip and replace is a thing of the past. Today’s unified commerce technology players have headless, API-based ecommerce architecture, meaning that they’re no longer attached to a particular platform. They use a mix of microservices and cloud-native apps for scalability and flexibility. As a result, you can implement individual retail workflows without having to take on a whole new system and decommission the old.

A perfect example of this: We recently worked with a retailer who had a lot of complex logic built into their legacy POS. Their immediate goal was to modernize the returns process to support buy-online-return-in-store (BORIS) options and other ways to streamline customer returns.

Using a returns microservice from one of our partners, we were able to integrate state-of-the-art returns workflows with the legacy POS. Our client achieved huge ROI rapidly, and the quick win allowed them to internally sell leadership on additional modernizations.

Sophisticated Omnichannel Technology Is Now Cost-effective

Second, the unified commerce capabilities that were within reach only of giants like Amazon and Target have become more commodified. Several market vendors we partner with now provide sophisticated, out-of-the-box omnichannel capabilities at relatively low costs. This commodification is an opportunity because it levels the playing field.

What Amazon built with a decade of R&D is now available to retailers with more modest IT budgets and staffing. As my colleague Tony Rost, head of Logic’s Cloud practice, likes to say, “the hard work is already done.” If that retailer is motivated, they can provide even better experiences and outshine the competition.

Getting to Value Quickly with Unified Commerce

When my team starts working with a client to achieve unified commerce, we first need to understand what’s there and what’s not there. In a blue-sky scenario, what are the systems that interact most closely with the customer and provide that exceptional experience? Those are what give you value right away.

This kind of transformation ties into Logic’s principles of “renew” and “enhance.” Again, you don’t need to rip and replace. Logic offers a set of accelerators: customized starter kits that help rapidly create those workflows and processes for retailers.

We’ve mastered the components of headless ecommerce architecture, and we work with partners who provide various pieces of the puzzle. We help clients determine what to do tactically today and strategically over the next two to three years to be competitive. Your time to market can be much faster, and you can probably extend the longevity of your existing systems. We’d love to be your partner in turning it all into reality.

As the Global Managing Director of Logic’s Digital practice, Xavier Mougeot drives the next wave of commerce experiences and innovation at Logic. Xavier has led commerce strategies and customer experiences for companies including Rogers Communications, Stanley Black & Decker, General Motors, Mary Kay, AT&T, Sobeys, and Pfizer.

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