News - 2023/09/13

Sitoo recognized in Gartner® Hype Cycle™ for Retail Technologies, 2023 Research

Sitoo has been named as a Sample Vendor in the Gartner® Hype Cycle™.

According to the report, “retail CIOs can use this Hype Cycle to cut through market hype and identify transformative technologies that drive critical business results”. The report goes on to state, “UCPs remain near the Peak of Inflated Expectations in 2023. This is to reflect the expected acceleration in the market as retailers execute the unified retail commerce strategy, as well as the retailer’s realization that they must advance their digital transformation to meet new and emerging customer expectations. Time to Plateau is expected in five years.”

We believe investing in Unified Commerce is the best decision you’ll make in 2023.

We know as well as you do that retail is littered with trends and buzzwords. There’s always a clamor to jump on the latest bandwagon in a bid to stay ahead of the curve and the competition.

The tricky part is knowing what is justified and what trends you need to truly embrace.

Of course, we’re biased and will always argue that investing in a Unified Commerce Platform (UCP) should be top of the list for any ambitious retailer looking to grow. But we’re not alone. “The requirement for unified retail commerce has never been greater. Recent market disruption has revealed the punishing gaps within retailer ecosystems and demonstrated that many retailers are still functioning as multichannel retailers in silos rather than delivering true unified commerce,” as outlined in the research.

Before we dive into the ‘why’ of it, let’s take a step back and explain what a UCP is.

According to Gartner: “A UCP, includes the necessary components to support unified retail commerce, including the customer’s ability to browse, transact, acquire and consume across touchpoints. It crosses every retailer touchpoint including stores, alternate physical locations such as lockers and kiosks, as well as web, mobile, social and IoT devices, regardless of the input mechanism.”

As far as we’re concerned, a cloud-native UCP connects all your different backend systems and your frontend customer-facing sales channels in real time. When anchored by POS all your stores are, by default, connected and, through the platform, also connect with your online sales channel. The result is one truth, with unified product, inventory, order, payment and customer data across all touchpoints. 

The unified commerce capabilities of the platform are channeled through the POS. This gives your store associates all the tools, information and processes they need to deliver a seamless unified retail experience, enabling them to become the central and driving part of delivering a continuous cross-channel customer journey. 

In short, your UCP will sit at the heart of your business, empowering your store associates while giving you the level of flexibility and agility you need to meet ever-evolving customer expectations and behaviors.

So why now? Why invest in unified commerce capabilities now rather than the other many options in retail tech available?

Let’s dig into it:

1. Your customers expect a unified experience

Your customers are in control. They want to be able to shop with you whenever, wherever, and however they feel like it. They want choice and they want convenience. 

We now live in a world where all shopping is cross-channel. And, in the eyes of your customers, your brand is one entity, not silos of different channels. That’s why you need to meet your customers’ expectations and make all your sales channels act as one. 

Want to sell and fulfill from all available stock at any time from anywhere? Then unifying your data and your sales channels in real time is the only way to do it – and  the only way to get one single point of truth across your whole organization.

As Gartner states: “UCPs provide flexibility, continuity and consistency across all physical and digital touchpoints including web, mobile, social and order management. This allows customers to browse, transact, acquire and consume anywhere and anytime.”

2. CX and agility are what set you apart from the competition

It says in the 2023 Gartner® Retail Technologies Hype Cycle™ report that “customer experience and business agility have become the principal competitive differentiators in modern retailing. Retailers are, therefore, urgently implementing strategies to execute the delivery of unified retail commerce to both keep pace with new and emerging customer expectations as well as to remain agile and resilient to risk in rapidly changing market conditions.” 

We believe, this is why retailers are prioritizing delivering unified commerce because, in doing so, they are able to both keep pace with new and emerging customer expectations as well as to remain agile and resilient to risk in rapidly changing market conditions.

This level of agility and flexibility is essential for the future of retail. To have this level of flexibility, you need an IT architecture that lets you create an ecosystem and workflows on your terms, based around what you need. It’s why over the past 12 months, the requirement for open architecture has rapidly accelerated as a high priority for retailers.

3. Understanding your customers will ensure long-term success

Customers have more choice than they’ve ever had before and it’s incredibly easy for them to switch between different retailers. With this in mind, customer loyalty and lifecycle value take on even greater importance.

Understanding your customers, what they want, and want they need (and even pre-empting these) is one of the best ways of ensuring loyalty. As Gartner notes in the report: “Customer expectations are changing, and they are able to switch between retailers very easily. The holistic understanding of customer shopping behavior is of prime importance if retailers are to remain relevant, instill customer confidence, and meet and even preempt their needs.”

A unified cross-channel experience is essential to building this trust and loyalty… and to optimizing sales. With the same information everywhere and with real-time adjustments across all touchpoints, you can provide a fluid customer journey that traverses both online and physical channels.

With a 360° view of your customer’s order history and their interaction with your brand, you can deliver a great personalized service and connect with your customers in a relevant and engaging way. Your customers want all prices, stock levels, orders, and the information you hold on them to be unified. This requires all your systems to work together in harmony.

As an ambitious global retailer, if you can deliver on your brand promise (and give your customers what they want when they want it) then you’ll create trust and ultimately increase loyalty and sales.

Key takeaways from this report

Physical stores have changed, shopping behavior has changed, software has changed, and the competition has changed. And these changes aren’t going to stop. Retail is in constant evolution and this means if you don’t change with it, you’ll get left behind.

In the eyes of the customers, there’s only ever been one channel. They see a brand as one entity – not silos of different channels. And they expect every brand to deliver on its promise regardless of the channel. 

A UCP anchored by POS is the key component to help you do this.

Gartner cites the following user recommendation:

  • “Ensure the platform offers composable architecture and enables seamless integration to existing solutions or best-of-breed solutions for core components like point of sale (POS), order and inventory management, e-commerce and warehouse management systems (WMS).

  • Analyze your current POS functionality by comparing it with the need to deliver essential unified commerce capabilities for click and collect, store fulfillment, clienteling and smart check-out.

  • Assess the architecture of the platforms for their ability to scale and grow as new capabilities are needed to support ever-changing customer demands.”

If you want to find out more about composable architecture and how Sitoo Unified Commerce Platform anchored by POS can help you create positive shopping experiences every single time? Then we’d love to talk to you.

Gartner disclaimer

Gartner, Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2023, 21 July 2023, Max Hammond GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark, and MAGIC QUADRANT is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved. This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Sitoo.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s Research & Advisory organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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