The idea that the consumer buying journey is a linear, transactional process is a concept long outdated. What should be a cornerstone of retail is relationship. Relationship is a virtue, as well as a goal, of unified commerce in order to offer a complete and fluid shopping experience - a notion also endorsed by the interpretation of data from the latest Netcomm Forum in Italy, May 2023.


Shopping is no longer a mere act of purchase, but an expression of the person, driven by values, needs and new points of contact with the retailer. Previously, retailers and brands tried to manage their online and offline channels with the sole objective of ephemeral sales, but now the goal is to establish a lasting relationship with the consumer. This relationship is strongly based on values and needs such as the personalisation of the offer, the flexibility required, or even convenience, as well as the visibility of an order or sustainability and transparency.


Losing customers

Some retailers, lacking critical vision and a broader context in terms of merging digital and physical experiences, miss important opportunities to grow their business; while consumers, with their values and needs, rely on different channels in their buying journey, creating buying processes that need unified commerce and omnichannel. Retailers that lag behind in this respect create difficulties in the buying process and risk losing customers.

As confirmed by the Netcomm Forum 2023, “the relevance of online channels in guiding offline purchasing has increased: in 40 per cent of cases, consumers consult at least one online service before buying in shop. And the reverse is also true, although with less incidence: almost one in four online purchases is influenced by a visit to a physical point of sale.”

This means that people are making omnichannel shopping their ‘tool’, where online is not only the primary shopping channel, but also serves as a window to get more information about the product or service; and thus, make a considered and better choice based on values and needs.




“A new era of conscious consumers is reshaping commerce as we know it”



Conscious consumers

With the rise of online shopping and ‘digital sharing’, which has made consumers more aware and demanding, in recent years the shopping experience required is increasingly personalised, integrated, varied, flexible, fast, transparent and low-cost.

A new era of conscious consumers is reshaping commerce as we know it. With so many people embracing new values such as sustainability, mental health and inclusivity, retail brands and brands need to become like them and adapt to the new demands that have changed the shopping experience, engaging and blending the physical and digital worlds.

The retail sector is now accustomed to dealing with macro and disruptive changes, but also with those ‘closer’ to the end customer. However, an effort is still required from the less innovative and more perplexed brands and signs in these terms. It is time to reinvent retail, not only by listening to consumers, but by opening up to a relationship that allows for continuous two-way refinement.

By supporting people, by offering products in line with their values, by being more transparent, by being ready with different service options (from product search to shipping to payment), retailers can achieve unified commerce based on a lasting relationship.




Roberto Vismara, Sales Director Italy at Manhattan



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