Las Vegas, Nev. – Speaking here at its fifth annual XChange conference before a record audience of over 1,200 retailers, technology partners and others, Demandware leaders detailed new capabilities that empower retailers to thrive in an era of the omni-channel consumer, or the “Democratization of Commerce.”

Tom Ebling, Demandware chief executive, said that technology has given consumers the power to determine when, where and how they interact with a retail brand – whether online or off. Touchpoints are proliferating faster than many brands can adapt, and retailers who don’t meet the expectations of connected consumers will be eclipsed by those who do.

How can retailers compete?

“First, here’s what not to do,” said Ebling. “Competing on price won’t work. The key is to compete on experience, leveraging both brick and mortar and digital commerce to serve customers however they engage with your brand.”

In order to help retailers become connected brands capable of reaching customers at every touch point, Demandware is making significant, ongoing investments in its ‘One Platform’ strategy, in which discrete systems – point-of-sale, ecommerce and mobile technologies – converge onto a single platform to reduce complexity and create seamless consumer engagements.

Demandware’s investments are a reflection of where global retailers are headed. According to a January 2015 study, 53% of retail executives surveyed plan to implement a unified commerce platform within five years; 86% plan to do so within ten years.

Jeff Barnett, Demandware chief operating officer, acknowledged in his keynote address the challenges in merging siloed systems, and the complexity in back end integration. He cited statistics from Forrester Research revealing that more than two-thirds of retailers are concerned about their ability to scale, expand globally and implement omni-channel initiatives.

“Omni-channel has moved beyond hyperbole,” he said. “Your organization must be ubiquitous, agile and contextual. Your brand value will be enhanced by unified commerce,” he said.

As Ebling and Barnett both noted, this new era of “connected retail” is framing the way Demandware thinks about its long-term product strategy. That is, it is based on a unified cloud platform that supports all points of interaction: stores, website, mobile, social, marketplaces and more.

Stay tuned to this space in the coming days and weeks to hear about the specific ways in which Demandware is empowering retailers to deliver seamless customer experiences.