Merging your brick and mortar stores with your ecommerce enterprise has become mission critical. Not only do today’s sophisticated customers expect a seamless shopping experience between your channels, they’re looking for a unified and cohesive brand experience - if that's not evident they're going elsewhere. And for you, as a multi-channel retailer, it's crucial to breakdown purchasing, inventory, CRM and sales silos. Ultimately, you need a single, comprehensive retail management and point of sale platform for all channels. You know what you need, but where to go from here?
Luckily there are more options than ever before and many of today’s modern POS systems are geared towards handling these complex relationships. Yet, as you evaluate the options, there are fundamental issues to consider when choosing an omni-channel retail POS system. First off, what exactly is omnichannel? "Omnichannel (also spelled omni-channel) is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store. " searchcio.techtarget.com
Here are some considerations as you explore your omni-channel retailing options in conjunction with point of sale solutions.
Is the ecommerce functionality an integration with a top ecommerce platform provider or is it integral to the POS software? This can be a key question to ask for a number of reasons and there are issues with both. For instance, if your POS system integrates with a top tier provider such as Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce, you can rest assured knowing that both your POS and ecommerce software is going to be up-to-date in features, functionality and support. However, that comes at a cost. It's more expensive to pay for two separate platforms - even if they integrate seamlessly. On the flip side, if the ecommerce functions are "baked in" to the POS software, the bundle will be cheaper but probably lacks features, functionality and dedicated ecommerce support. So, know what you need and understand the best option for your business.
Can you track your inventory as you move stock across all sales channels, ensuring customers have information in real-time? Ensuring your inventory is updated in real-time is essential to ensuring that no customer is left unhappy and unfulfilled. Take this one step further and consider whether the solution makes it seamless for customers to return items at any location - online or in store. Even better, does the software allow the customer to see the locations where a product is available? Having robust retail inventory management software built into your solution will help you comprehensively manage your inventory while providing a frictionless experience for your customers.
Does the solution allow clients to choose where they want to receive their purchases? Maybe they want to shop online but pick up in store? Or shop in store but have it shipped to their friend in California? Understanding the flexibility in fulfillment options is a key consideration in omni-channel retailing.
Will your promotions apply to both online and in store customers? Again, this is fundamental to a seamless customer experience. You want to be able to reward customers for their loyalty across all channels. In the future, many of the top ecommerce and loyalty platforms will also allow you to see your brand evangelists on social media and really deepen your ability to nurture them - is your ecommerce solution constantly looking towards future functionality?
Is the customer data you are gathering both in store and online syncing, does the solution allow you to compile and analyze data across all platforms in one, centralized, location? You need to be able to see your data across all channels, in real-time. Make sure you are considering a solution that considers the whole scope of your retail enterprise and gives you the dashboards, metrics and reporting flexibility to make strategic decisions for your unique business.
At Springboard Retail, we made the strategic choice to focus on our core compitancy - POS and retail management software. By integrating with partners who are top in their technology markets (like ecommerce) we ensure that our customers are getting a solution that is full of features and functionality - a solution that will support their enterprise well into the future.
Want to learn more about the Springboard Retail omni-channel retailing solution? Give our sales consultants a call - they'll answer all these questions and more!
Topics: POS software