Retailers are applying the omnichannel approach to many aspects of their businesses to make sure they bring a great experience to customers and stay ahead of the game in the competitive landscape. While the phrase ‘omnichannel system’ may make you feel overwhelmed, there is a simple yet effective way to ensure a seamless shopping flow for your customers: integrate Point of Sale in your brick-and-mortar stores with your eCommerce sites.
Benefits of Integrated eCommerce and POS System
An integrated eCommerce and POS system will benefit both you, the retailer and your customers. Here are some highlights:
1. Offer the same online products at brick-and-mortar stores
Instead of downloading the product list and uploading it to POS (or worse, preparing the product list from zero), an integrated POS will automatically load the products along with all of its details, including name, SKU, description, stock level, price and promotion from the eCommerce site for you. You only need to open the POS app and start selling right away.
2. Track and manage goods with high speed and accuracy
Inventory Management always causes retailers headaches, especially the ones with multiple stores. You need to know the exact stock level of any item at any store or warehouse at any time so you can make purchase orders or transfer stock in time, ensuring that customers can buy what they want when they want. Your shop operators need to have real-time access to products and inventory to run the stores and assist customers better.
Managing stock via the integrated system will help you achieve these because the information is updated between the online and offline stores, immediately and automatically. Human errors are minimized during the whole process so you can avoid spending hours or even days finding the root issues and trying to fix them.
3. Widen and deepen understanding of customers’ behaviors
When customers visit your stores, their in-store behaviors and preferences along with other information they provide can be recorded in POS and then synced to your eCommerce site. Centralized data about online and offline behaviors in one place bring you insights into their shopping behaviors: is there anything common? anything significantly different? what will they do in such situations? how they react? (and if the data is big enough, you can even answer the big question: why do they do it?). Then you can turn these insights into actions by designing marketing emails, promotional messages, and other personalized triggers.
4. Manage your business better
If there is a promotion campaign, you only need to set up in the backend of eCommerce site once, and the changes will be applied instantly in the integrated POS, which means all the stores have had updated information. Management tasks, from products, orders, shipments to staff, will be assisted by the system. Human errors are minimized so you won’t have to spend lots of time and effort on making sure that they’re being done right.
eCommerce and POS integration enables centralized data, online and offline in one place so you can have integrated reports. You know what your best-selling products are during specific periods so you can ensure you have enough stock and design promotional programs. You know how each store is performing, and if there is any store falling behind, you can make timely decisions to improve the situation.
5. Create a great experience for customers
When an online customer visits your store for the first time, your shop operators can find her existing information in POS. The customer can use her online reward points to pay for her in-store purchase and at the same time, gain points for that. In case she buys a gift card online or receives it from a friend, she can redeem it at a store or vice versa. The same goes for newly added customers at stores.
Customers also have more shopping options: direct purchase, home delivery, in-store pickup, multi-shipping, endless aisle so they can choose the most convenient way for them thanks to synchronized customer and order database.
How to Integrate POS with eCommerce?
There are a few ways you can connect your POS to eCommerce site. We list below the two most common options so you can choose the more suitable for you:
1. Find an eCommerce-based POS
This is the quickest (and usually most effective) way to have POS and eCommerce integration. If your eCommerce platform is popular enough, such as Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, it’s likely to have many extensions that support it, including Point of Sale. You just need to google, for example, Magento POS, to find the POS that is already compatible with your Magento site (or you can add some details to search query to narrow it down, for instance: Magento POS iPad), then purchase and install it. After being installed successfully, POS will start synchronizing information with your eCommerce site and you can start selling right away in your physical store.
2. Search or customize an API to connect POS and eCommerce
In case you can’t find a POS that runs off your eCommerce base, or you have already had a preferred POS that you want to make it work with your eCommerce website, you can still have an integrated system by using an API to connect them. Ask your preferred POS provider to see if they can provide you an API to connect to the eCommerce platform you’re using, or you can look for solution providers who can develop an API for you.
It may take some time to search and decide on the right option for you, but rest assured you will find it worthy in the long run. eCommerce and POS integration surely brings your business lots of benefits, especially if you focus on elevating the shopping experience for your customers and building an omnichannel POS system.