Universal Business Logic
What these customers are asking for is known as universal business logic. This emerging method of uniting channels is made possible primarily by the growth in sophistication and availability of technologies that integrate vital customer and market data into the online marketing and order placement/fulfillment process.
Typically, each component of an online business maintains its own protocols for how it relates to other components, e.g., databases, e-commerce applications, entire sales channels. Universal business logic provides methodologies for consolidating all these protocols into one centralized control center managed by the e-commerce application. This will enable all channels to interact far more harmoniously than was ever possible before, since all promotions, campaigns, displays and messaging for retail, catalog and Web can be controlled simultaneously from one point.
A fully integrated data warehouse containing your own proprietary information from your Web, catalog and retail channels is at the core of this system. Your Web site, retail stores and catalog service centers must read from the same universal customer and product databases. This is the only way to ensure effective customer relationship management as customers switch rapidly from channel to channel. The technology also must provide your marketing and merchandising experts with the data-analysis tools they need to fully capitalize on the knowledge contained in those databases. The efficiencies generated through such an arrangement will not only create a more robust and responsive selling mechanism, but also keep costs under control and help you remain competitive.
In short, effective use of data will be the key to success in the coming years. The three primary channels—retail, catalog and Web—will only realize their full potential when they share the same universal data and data-communications pipelines.
Universal Business Logic in Action
Universal business logic benefits both customers and merchants. For the customer, it creates a consistent view of purchasing options and your business across all channels. For the merchant, it creates an accurate and consistent multichannel view of the customer. Universal business logic can be applied to these and other key data categories, including customer order history, promotions and discounts, customer preferences, product images/displays, product pricing, loyalty programs, campaigns, and messaging.