eStar’s Chief Technology Officer, Matt Neale details why traditional POS is being threatened by new customer journeys.
The increasing expectations and sophistication of the instore experience is evolving rapidly, there has been a lot of attention and effort put into this as retailers have responded to the increasing reach of online retailers.
Much of this change is being driven by the consumers, who are demanding that the same levels of access to information and immediate service they have online, are available in store.
POS systems are becoming increasingly connected within the overall business system architecture, and retailers who are clinging to systems that have limited capability for integrating to other systems, are finding themselves increasingly struggling to adapt to the rapidly evolving customer purchasing journeys.
This fusion of the online store with they physical is seeing the demands being placed on POS, ultimately being met largely through eCommerce platforms.
eCommerce has been designed from the outset to scale in ways POS has never had to, to provide a high level of self-service and rich information – think product reviews, full descriptions and specifications - these are generally not available instore, and a much wider array of payment options.
The time is here where the question for retailers is “do you need a traditional POS system?”
Traditional POS systems are expensive to deploy and maintain, and changing to a new one is a daunting project for any retailer with more than a handful of stores.
The digital store has arrived in the physical store, and ultimately the customer experiences on the shop floor are changing.
In store sales assistants now have the opportunity to sell physical stock that they may have in their supply chain, but not in that store.
The sale should be able to be paid through a multitude of payment methods such as eftpos providers, gift cards, layby or deferred payment solutions, or a combination of all.
Whether your customer starts their buying journey online or instore, or a combination, using the most convenient channel becomes irrelevant.
Their entire sales history, and your entire fulfilment network is at their disposal to get the right product at the right time, for the right price.
True unified commerce combines the rich content and user experience of online shopping with the functionality of in-store POS and operator-initiated orders and sales.
By locating and processing data and transactions on one integrated platform, retailers gain a single source of truth that delivers accurate and up-to-date information, reducing the number of critical connections to inventory, sales management and fulfilment systems that are a necessary and critical point of failure in many retail architectures today.
Not that long ago, there was a perception that “pure play” online retailers had an advantage in reaching customers with information, offers and cost savings.
But now the “bricks and clicks” are finding that they hold the advantage with physical presence and the tangible experiences they can create with product, service and presentation.
The fusion of the digital and physical stores is a competitive advantage in the customer journey, as retailers aim to exceed the new expectations of their customers and the offerings of their competitors.
It is important for retailers to look beyond their traditional POS systems to emerging players in this space, and for opportunities to leverage the systems they already have that can complement and extend their current offerings.
This means functionality that enables customers to order in store, to take advantage of the increasingly personalised offer that has, until recently, only been available online, to have access to their order history, and to provide a complete view of the customer to enable increased loyalty and spend through a seamless and elegant customer experience.