Consumers are mobile, in store and online at the same time checking out the retailer, and their competition. They can compare prices and share their findings with others via social media sites. Today, the consumer is savvier and has more power over retailers than ever before, and this has been fuelled by the internet.
The shift to savvier consumers is not the only thing that is changing in retail, slowly EPoS systems are changing from being deployed ‘locally’ to being hosted in the ‘cloud’. This is a significant sea change, as there are more cloud based EPoS systems available, as both suppliers and retailers acknowledge the future for EPoS is web based. What’s more web based, aka cloud based EPoS systems, will help retailers address this shift in power to the consumer, by allowing them to offer improved and personalised customer service.
A real fillip of cloud based EPoS systems is they have central product and customer files. As the customer file is hosted centrally it allows for a greater continuity of service, as all stores and channels access the same data. Retailers that use traditional EPoS systems struggle to adequately share customer files throughout the estate. So stores may have different customer records for a single client, making on going customer service and profiling difficult and often inaccurate.
Internet based EPoS systems will allow handheld devices such as tablets to become mobile tills, replacing some of fixed till points in store. Retail sales assistants will use iPads to show customers products, check stock and take payments. This is already happening, especially in retail environments with large showrooms, such as furniture stores. It is not just EPoS that will be go the way of the web, as there will be mobile payment points, aided by contactless payments, and the ability to scan a mobile to make a payment. For this to happen, and its happening now, EPoS will be based on and driven by the internet.
Much is made about modern multi-channel retail, with retailers trading in-store, online and over the phone. But many retailers also have a retail presence at shows and festivals. Here web based EPoS systems again excel, once connected to the internet, retailers can manage stock and recognise customers visiting their stand. This is something traditional EPoS systems simply cannot do, what’s more retailers can then use reports to see how much each show and festival generates so they can make informed decisions on whether to attend the following year rather than basing them on gut feel.
Web based EPoS systems take away the pain of retailers managing their own software upgrades, as these are done by the software provider. This also means that retailers will use the same version of software across their site and they don’t face issues of managing legacy software as they are always using the latest software. As technology constantly evolves the lifecycle of technology shrinks. So choosing a retail systems partner for your EPoS systems can be critical. Retailers that work with suppliers that can focus on the here and now as well as adapting and pioneering future developments is vitally important, and this is something that web based systems accentuate.