The difficulty for anyone who has a bricks and mortar shop along side their online shop, all suffer similar issues, including keeping inventory counts in sync, keeping pricing in sync, and giving customers a cohesive experience both online and in store.
The primary issue is that not all POS systems integrate with all website ecommerce platforms. So you need to pick solutions that match well.
The most common issue is inventory tracking. Many businesses may only have single items on the shelf. If you run a special, these "last items" might become very popular on the same day. It is possible that someone buys the items in store, and later that same day, someone orders and pays online for the same item, no longer in stock. The timing of when these 2 systems synchronise their inventory data will determine how likely that event is to occur. The best integration solution is when you use a virtual POS system, where sales are linked to the same inventory database in real time.
Customers will want to earn points in store, and they will want to earn points online, for similar purchases. No matter where they earn their points, they will want the option to spend their points either in store, or online. Limiting their choices due to your own technology limitations, will only give the customer a bad experience.
Imagine if your partner bought you a voucher online, for your birthday, for your favourite clothing store. However, you might prefer to shop and redeem in store. When you go to the store, and try on your new clothes, and then get to the checkout, only to discover you can't use your voucher, it won't be a good customer experience. It's important that the same vouchers can be used both online and instore, and for obvious reasons, should never be used twice. A tightly integrated POS and online shopping system should solve this issue for you.
Just like with vouchers and loyalty points, customers should receive the same pricing both instore and online.
Rather than run a separate branch for your online sales, you can have your store staff fulfill online orders in their spare time. The POS system allows any POS operator to view recent transactions and ship orders.
Integrated POS and online shopping systems should allow your store staff to view and manage open carts, so when a customer is having trouble checking out, the staff member can complete the sale, and send a payment request to the customer, or simply edit the order live, and ask the customer to refresh their browser.
Even if customers generally buy in store, it can be great if they can access all their sales data online. This will save customers calling you to make enquiries about historical transactions. It will help a customer determine how their loyalty points balance was calculated. It will help a customer determine if an item they purchased is still under warranty, without hunting our the original receipt. It will help customers completing their tax returns to print out copies of their invoices.
When considering different POS and website platforms, it's of paramount importance that the two systems can talk to each other, or are provided by the same developer. If choosing different systems, consider if the POS or online system is most important. Consider where will you make the most sales? Or can you train your staff to overcome any shortcomings of a POS system, to ensure that your online shop is easiest to use by customers, and your systems remain synchronised.
Website World provides an integrated POS and Online shopping system, so you need not worry about any of these issues. Your customers will have a seemless experience between online and instore.
Posted: Monday 14 August 2017