The Integration-First Approach: Why You Urgently Need To Switch Up Your Tech Ecosystem

If you feel like running a fast-growing business in the modern commerce landscape is a juggling act, you aren’t wrong. 

It goes without saying that growth is great, but it inevitably introduces complexity — and if you don’t have the right tech in place, you’re likely to end up bogged down by tedious manual processes, drowning in stop-gap spreadsheet semi-solutions and falling foul to human error (such as overselling stock or mis-labeling parcels). 

Ultimately, all of this impacts customer experience — and in the Hyper-Scalable Era we’re now in, customer experience is everything. Modern customers want cutting-edge experiences, next-level services and the ability to shop where they hang out (aka on various platforms) in a modern, digital alternative to the shopping malls of the 1990s. 

To grow and thrive, you can’t afford to let your customers down. 

Change is therefore needed – and the good news is, it might be simpler than you think… Rapidly scaling businesses like yours must rebuild their tech ecosystem based on an integration-first approach. 

That means ditching outdated legacy systems, like ERPs, which are unfit for purpose in the Hyper-Scalable Era. And it means replacing those systems with a composable, agile tech stack that brings together every element of your brand – across both the front and back end – into one robust, interconnected system that automates, simplifies and streamlines processes. 

Let’s take a closer look at why an integration-first approach is so essential in the Hyper-Scalable Era…

  • The current landscape demands scalability

The Hyper-Scalable Era we’re now in is defined by the ever-evolving demand for new services and better shopping experiences — and by the ability of brands to rapidly adapt and curate their offering accordingly.

Software and tech must interconnect as part of a single integration-first ecosystem to provide retailers with the flexible, interchangeable, best-in-class tools they need to quickly adapt, scale and deliver the more immersive, powerful shopping experiences that modern consumers demand.

For instance, a brand’s chosen retail operating system must be able to connect to a library of Plug & Play integrations, including to front-end e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce, as well as to shipping providers, accounting tools, marketplaces and other apps and services.

It also must make automation of manual processes easy – after all, automation is known to save the average retailer two months every year, as well as reduce errors by 65% and cut labor costs in half. 

  • Multichannel is becoming mainstream

As part of the shift into the Hyper-Scalable Era, there are now more sales channels for brands to choose to sell on than ever before. There are marketplaces aplenty, social media platforms, affiliate sites, bricks-and-mortar stores – and that’s all in addition to a brand’s own website. 

There’s also a growing emergence of ‘alternative’ sales channels – in our latest research, 49% of shoppers revealed they were increasingly using ‘alternative’ methods, such as livestream, WhatsApp, Pinterest and even via video games such as Fortnite, for their online shopping.

It’s clear that brands that want to succeed in the Hyper-Scalable Era need to sell across multiple channels — merchants selling on multiple channels report a higher level of growth of 33%, compared to only 8% when selling on a single channel.

But it’s about more than just joining the channels that are currency popular and considering the problem solved. Brands need the tech onside to be able to rapidly curate a changing roster of tools, apps and channels in response to the ever-evolving demands of customers. 

Businesses should keep in mind, though, that adding new channels means adding yet more layers of operational complexity. To handle it, and to make it a success, brands need speed, flexibility, optionality.

They need an integration-first ecosystem of composable solutions that allow them to easily add or swap out channels in-line with customer trends.

  • The alternatives are unfit-for-purpose

Many brands – 52% of brands in the US and 69% of UK-based retailers to be precise – rely on clunky, outdated tech, such as ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) and OMSs (Order Management Systems). 

However, these systems were built for the commerce landscape of times gone-by, when retailers offered the same experience to every consumer and only operated one sales channel, or two at most. 

By their very design as ‘all-in-one’ solutions, ERPs and OMSs don’t have the architecture to support rapid changes. That means they simply aren’t built to cope with the speed and agility required to quickly integrate new technologies and selling channels. 

Brands that are signed up to a monolithic ERP, or even an OMS, will therefore find it next to impossible to quickly adapt and succeed in the modern landscape. 

Integration-first systems that allow you to turn on and off new channels quickly while maintaining operational efficiency aren’t just essential for the future – they are essential for the here and now. 

Brands must urgently break free from the shackles of dated technology and insecure systems that stand in the way of their success. 

The bottom line

An integration-first ecosystem of best-in-class, interconnected tech and software, including a purpose-built retail operating system like Brightpearl, is essential for success in the modern era. 

Want to see why Brightpearl is the foundation of every great integration-first ecosystem? Book a Brightpearl demo today.