Unified Commerce - Retail's new normal in a post-Covid-19 world

    By David Gore, Head of Industries at BJSS

    David Gore

    Last week, Tim Larcombe, MD at Sitoo led our first insightful session as part of our Unified Commerce webinar series.

    Thank you again to those who listened in to the webinar and for those of you who are about to watch the recording here is a summary of what you are about to see.

    It’s true that we are living in unprecedented times but after any challenging time there is a renaissance period, a period of renewal and regeneration. It’s also true that many things have changed very quickly over the last few months but many of the challenges faced have only served to heighten and hasten what we were already considering.

    We remain human beings and will still crave connection to brands and retailers that have authenticity and honesty at their core.

    We need to avoid the ‘muddled middle’ and provide a compelling point of view to our community who are our target consumers.

    We, more than ever, need to collaborate with each other and the support that Adidas gave to Nike’s recent ‘don’t do it’ message demonstrates that this is moving to the next level.

    It’s true that things will change. Perhaps we will be more patient and pragmatic and perhaps the priorities for business leaders will change. The one thing we can’t afford to do is put our head in the sand.

    Facing into our current challenges, deciding where to head next and making sure that we are ready when we are all back out there….”

    Answers to the questions

    If the 2 metre social distancing rule in-store is maintained for the rest of 2020, can you see stores being able to make this profitable? If not, will we see another wave of store closures?

    This will vary sector by sector. Sector’s with higher average spend [ like jewelers who have always operated social distancing ] will obviously fare much better , it’s going to be more challenging for the sectors that rely on high footfall with a lower average spend. It will be interesting to see how consumers react to time in store, fewer visits but making it count when they do visit? The re-purposing of stores and their teams is also where brands and retailers will look to improve productivity. The store associates need to be able to cover everything from a pick n pack website order for delivery from their store to providing a personalised one on one experience for a customer. As mentioned in the webinar the current situation will undoubtedly spark innovation but the backdrop will remain challenging into 2021.

    Have you got a retailer/s you think we'll see accelerate out the back of Covid-19?

    I believe that a lot of retailers that were strong going into CV-19 will re-emerge strongly after CV-19. Again this will vary by sector but as mentioned brands like Patagonia, Levis, adidas and Nike will continue to thrive.

    We all love talking about 'omnichannel' as a buzzword, what's the difference between this and Unified Commerce?

    Exactly as we discussed in the webinar. Omnichannel was one of the top two priorities for CEO, along with sustainability and like sustainability understanding what your consumer expects when they think about these topics is paramount. Unified commerce is about meeting the consumer’s needs and expectations there and then. The Nudie jeans example that I referenced in the webinar is a great example as this also brings unified commerce and sustainability together!

     Tim - who would be your dream retailer to partner with through Sitoo?

    As we discussed there are many great retailers and brands out there. I answered Primark and it links back to the first question on how certain retail models rebound. The reason for Primark is around the challenge of restarting that hugely successful business, with that reliance on high footfall in the new era.

    Tim/Dave- can you see the possibility of your two organisations working together to help retailers?

    Absolutely! BJSS has expertise across a number of industries and that gives it access to many views on how different businesses in different industries are preparing for what next. Clean data is a complex yet key component of a seamless unified experience and that’s why brands and retailers will need the likes of BJSS and Sitoo to be collaborating on their behalf.