Retailers have massively enhanced their online customer service capabilities over the past two years. Now we’re physically back in stores, the need is for a perfect blend of offline and online strategies. An omnichannel approach which uses a retail technology ecosystem to connect all channels – online, mobile, and in-store – is required.
Customers are demanding a consistent, remarkable experience with brands when browsing or buying. This has augmented the need for more advanced point of sale (PoS) software features. This will aid the management of both online and in-store sales.
Most retailers can see the value in using fully integrated digital technology. They’re keen to offer their customers multiple opportunities to buy at every point in their retail journey. This can include bringing WiFi into stores; having floor assistants with in-store tablets (as personal shopping assistants); installing interactive shelves/rails; and ‘real-time’ offers. All these systems and technologies contribute to an immersive and personalised shopping experience. Those retailers who haven’t boarded the omnichannel PoS train yet need to jump on.
The omnichannel PoS landscape can be complex to navigate. These recommendations will provide retailers with a framework for a long-term, successful transformation strategy.
1. Be properly omnichannel
Customers now expect omnichannel experiences and to easy accessibility. This is expected whether in-store or online; as well as ‘dark store’ facilities, including click and collect and BOPAK.
The PoS system must integrate all management systems to sell to customers anywhere at any time. This includes the ability to streamline and integrate processes for sales and payments across all on and offline channels – including stock, cash, and payment management – with built-in mobile and remote functionality. This must include managing online and in-store stock, rapidly making accurate reorders and between-location transfers using cross-channel tracking and performance reports.
2. Offer customer choice
Customers’ demands for personalisation is ever-increasing. It is important brands can offer flexible payment options in line with informed advice. This isn’t just about checking out at a physical till or online, though. It’s also about making the decision to buy there and then – wherever they choose to shop.
Customers may also want the option to make the decision later and seamlessly complete their purchase at home. A retailer’s PoS platform should be flexible enough to easily handle each requirement. If not, it’ll likely fail to build customer loyalty and make sales.
3. Offer a shared online and offline cart
56% of consumers opt for businesses that allow shoppers to use a shared cart across different channels. Customers should never find themselves in a situation where they must terminate a transaction or enter additional details to complete their purchase. These typically happens if their journey involves using different channels.
Even if a retailer can’t offer fully seamless experiences in-store and online, mixed baskets should be a fundamental part of the service.
4. Beware of overlooking order management
An upgraded PoS system will include more efficient and cost-effective order management. 67% of retailers are looking to enhance their order management systems and enable real-time product visibility over the next 12 months.
Neglecting order management can lead to overstocking and understocking, which can have serious impacts. To avoid disappointing customers, there should be abilities to accurately manage stock and maintain inventory consistency across all channels.
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of attribution
A common barrier to introducing omnichannel services is lack of attribution. Sales completed by the customer at home after started by a store associate is often credited to the online channel. This can frustrate store associates.
Attributing each sale to the correct channel and store associate can hugely improve the employee experience. With the right omnichannel PoS system, this employee satisfaction is simpler to achieve.
6. Harness customer data
Managing their ever-increasing data is a challenge for retailers, but an effective omnichannel PoS system will provide the data you need to fully understand your customers. Gathering customer data on habits and preferences when they check out can provide intelligent business insight and allow for truly personalised engagement. A PoS system that actively supports other omnichannel initiatives such as clienteling and assisted sales will reinforce every aspect of the customer experience.
7. Go headless
Going headless – decoupling your platform’s front and back end – gives you more flexibility in updating, developing, and implementing services. It avoids the challenges involved in making speedy changes to a monolithic platform. To take full advantage of its flexibility and agility, an omnichannel PoS should be a cloud-native SaaS solution designed and built to be API-first and microservices based, with offline and headless capability. The future of PoS is in the cloud – allowing scalability to support your unique business processes.
8. Appreciate the value of PoS
Retailers should never underestimate PoS’ power to elevate the customer experience. Indeed, new customer-facing apps and immersive in-store experiences may give a great first impression. But customers won’t hesitate to abandon a retailer if the back-office processes are clunky.
Getting stock management, orders, and payment processing right will result in shopping being seamless and hassle-free. Around 86% of customers will pay more if their experience is seamless. This runs from browsing and choosing a product, right through to having multiple payment options.
9. Be careful about buy now, pay later (BNPL)
Predictions suggest UK shoppers will spend up to £40 billion a year by 2026 using new BNPL platforms. However, the fact it’s unregulated and easy to sign up to heralds’ potential debt issues. This is also creating a lack of retailer-consumer responsibility.
Before introducing BNPL facilities, your customers’ needs should be thoroughly considered and looked after.
10. Future-proof your PoS system
A robust retail transformation strategy is future-proof. Your omnichannel PoS services are part of a comprehensive technology ecosystem that is fit for purpose. Retrofitting a PoS system to solve an issue without considering how it will scale with your plans is only a temporary solution. This may even slow all your other processes down in the space of a couple of years.
59% of retailers are making omnichannel capabilities and systems integration their top priority. Implementing an enhanced PoS system with built-in longevity, scalability and reliability keeps retailers ahead of the omnichannel curve.
Embracing omnichannel PoS can impact the bottom line
Getting PoS right isn’t just a small part of a big transformational process. It can revolutionise the retail experience. Additionally, it has become the power behind today’s most revered brands. But it isn’t restricted to a retailer’s size, data or technology stack; or where you are on your digital journey.
Any retailer can access these options to deliver intelligent strategies for digital and in-store commerce. This is at all points in the retail journey – from social media to the last mile. Retailers must totally realign their business to converge all channels. Boosting sales and improving customer loyalty long-term is a huge consideration.