Omnichannel Integration: Where Does POS Fit?
Choice is the watchword of the modern consumer. More products, more brands, more choice is key to customer satisfaction.
Thanks to digital technology, consumers have more choice than ever not just in what they buy, but how, where and when they make their purchases. The arrival of eCommerce, with its wealth of web stores, online marketplaces, mobile ordering and even purchasing through social media, has seriously challenged the traditional brick-and-mortar store.
Yet choice is not all that matters to the modern consumer. Consistency and convenience also have a role to play People do not want to visit a store and see sdifferent products or pricing than those they saw browsing the website the day before.
They can also do without the option of three or four different places to buy the same product from the same seller online which can make the whole process muddled and confusing.
That is why the concept of omnichannel integration has gained so much attention. Having multiple sales and marketing channels, both online and in physical outlets, is one thing. But a larger goal is how to make them all work in harmony to deliver the most consistent, convenient experience possible for customers, as well as helping your business run more intuitively and efficiently.
In our AURES Predictions Report 2018, we asked some of our leading channel partners to outline their vision of how POS might evolve over the next five years. Omnichannel integration featured prominently, especially the role POS technology has to play in unifying online and offline buying channels.
Key themes included using POS as an intelligent hub to improve service, combining online and in-store resources to create flexible ordering and delivery options, and harnessing the advantages of each channel at all customer touchpoints to create a ‘best of all worlds’ offering. Here is a taste of what our partners had to say.
Alan Holcroft, Sales Director - Northern Europe, CEGID
Shoppers now bring a greater level of knowledge into the store, researching online before they reach the aisle and, due to the high levels of personalization customers receive online, they now this expect to be mirrored in the physical environment.
Using a mobile POS solution, which allows viewing of a customer’s previous purchasing behavior on and off-line, store staff can leverage clienteling opportunities to drive increased conversions. By making product recommendations based on previous transactions, extending stock availability beyond the shelf edge and delivering online orders to a customer’s preferred collection point, the store can start to deliver the same informed, flexible transactions as online shopping, helping retailers improve omnichannel conversions.
Ian Tomlinson, CEO and Founder, CyberTill
Delivery to home or in-store with an exact date and time is critical to the Millennial and Gen X customer. It’s happening now.
McDonalds’ urban locations all contain digital touchscreens that display menu options and accept contactless (and chip and pin) payment methods. And even if you click and collect in store at McDonalds, or around the corner at Starbucks, pods and separate queuing systems are starting to pop up in stores for goods ordered online. Increased speed and convenience is key to success.
Tina Royall, Marketing Director, Futura Retail Solutions
Integrated systems that share real-time data remain the Holy Grail for many retail brands. This has tangible benefits in terms of business performance and customer interaction. Omnichannel retail is about integrating and linking different elements of the business (stores, web, concessions, suppliers, CRM and warehouse, etc,) in one cohesive IT system. So, when a customer buys online, for example, the system knows that stock is available and where it’s located. The customer might then select ‘click and collect’ or a delivery option.
Rod Barlow, Divisional Managing Director, K3 Business Technology
Today’s consumer is well informed, technically savvy, and extremely experienced when it comes to shopping in traditional and virtual channels. Constantly connected, the consumer is sophisticated and has high expectations around service, value, offers and choice. They want shopping in physical stores to offer the same benefits as online, with the ability to pick up items in the store or have them delivered to their homes, loyalty points for store visits, and store associates who have answers about product specs, availability, and inventory. The priority for any retailer is to provide customers with the best service possible and having a solid system in place that will support omnichannel demands is key.
To read the full AURES POS Predictions Report 2018, you can download it here.