Can you believe that Generation Z probably don’t remember a time before ecommerce? As a middle Millennial I can’t believe that I probably have more nostalgic memories akin to someone 20 years older than me, than I do to someone 10 years younger. There was a time that the high street closed early on a Wednesday and if you wanted to pay a bill you had to do it in person and physically visit the shop – oh the horror!
It’s fair to say that we now take ecommerce for granted. Since Amazon graced the shores of the UK in 1998 (yes that is 21 years ago) online shopping has exploded on a global scale and is now a staple component of consumer expectations from retailers. The shift from physical to digital stores is one of the most drastic changes retail has ever seen, and with over 20 years of online shopping, how come there are still some retailers getting it wrong?
It’s still surprising when a retailer you’d expect to have a website, doesn’t. There is a high-end, designer fashion boutique local to me that has a website, but it is just one page and it directs you to their Instagram feed. That’s no use if you can’t get to their one and only shop, the revenue they are missing out on must be colossal, and although you can shop via their Instagram feed, you need to phone the store to do so – such a convoluted way of shopping.
More than a website
Importantly, ecommerce has become more than just a website, it has become a true multi-channel beast that gives retailers maximum reach without needing a large store estate.
Social selling, catalogues, clienteling and even pop-up stores all drive the need for an efficient integrated ecommerce site. If you don’t have this then how can retailers be competent in managing stock, sales and customers?
Platforms such as Magento and Shopify have made it easy for retailers to create ecommerce websites, but retailers that have stores need a link between online and in-store sales. Real-time ecommerce and POS integration is the missing link that enables true omnichannel retail. Plus, when integrated into a POS system, retailers then have access to tracking all inventory, sales and order management processes online and in-store.
Retail tech innovations are changing constantly and what was once revolutionary is now mainstream, with this comes a multitude of benefits to integrating ecommerce to retail management and EPoS systems, no matter what size retailer you are.
6 benefits that ecommerce and POS integration brings for the ultimate omnichannel experience
- Linking your ecommerce to your EPoS has the potential to provide your systems (and therefore your customers) real-time access to multi-location stock, preventing you from overselling and falling into the ‘out of stock’ trap. It also removes the need for overnight polling, giving your customers confidence when ordering from you either online, or for click and reserve, or click and collect.
- Ecommerce gives retailers vastly improved stock management options, helping to manage stock, including out of stocks, across stores and online channels. Why not add an in-store stock feature on your ecommerce site, so customers can see store stock local to them, and accurate warehouse levels?
- Having a single view of a customer means you can merge online and in-store customer accounts and centralise data. This is a great way for providing all customers with the same level of service no matter what channels they buy through. It also unlocks the potential to create an efficient omnichannel loyalty scheme that your customers will just love!
- With clever, cloud-based retail management systems, ecommerce integration can also provide retailers with a complete merchandising workflow. Giving retailers the authority to set their own customisable rules for automated replenishment including, out of stock occurrence, minimum and maximum levels, click and collect and more.
- Make sure there’s no disparity between in-store and online stock by having full control over product images, descriptions and attributes with an intuitive in-built product information management (PIM) functionality.
- Delivery options can make or break a customer’s decision to buy from you. Integrating EPoS and ecommerce gives you the flexibility to offer customers omnichannel delivery options, including, buy online, click and collect in-store; reserve online, pay in-store; drop ship, pre-order and more. Perfect for keeping online customers happy and encouraging footfall to store, which in this difficult time for the high street, is more crucial than ever.
Whatever views you hold on how ecommerce should be managed, its safe to say that by integrating into your retail management and EPoS systems is a must if retailers want to achieve a true omnichannel offering to customers that’s going to instil them with confidence and become loyal to the brand.
To find out more about how you can integrate your ecommerce and EPoS download the RetailStore platform brochure.
Further reading: Magento and POS Integration guide