eCommerce companies often need both an online and offline point of sale. Use these top 4 tips for eCommerce point of sale success.
eCommerce point of sale can be complex. It transcends multiple sales channels both online with the likes of eBay and Amazon, plus offline retail stores, trade shows and market stalls. It must integrate with back office accounting and inventory systems to keep financials and stock figures accurate.
The multiple sales channels mean that eCommerce companies are using multiple points of sale.
In recent weeks the big online payment players have been discussing how they see the future of offline payment. Google presented the “Google Wallet” and their main competitor, eBay owner PayPal promptly sued them. It is safe to say that offline point of sale is a hot topic! And with good reason, “giants like eBay and Google jockey to win a piece of an estimated $630 billion market by 2014.”
The level of interest in offline payment from online payment providers suggests online and offline payments will soon become unified. They are not right now, which creates problems for the companies I speak to that use both, namely eCommerce businesses. Offline eCommerce point of sale is not as easy to co-ordinate with online as it should be.
Here are my top 4 tips for eCommerce businesses that are looking at deploying an offline point of sale for the first time:
1. Get your eCommerce point of sale systems talking to your shop tills
Get your retail points of sale talking to your eCommerce order system, either through direct integration or through separate stock control software. The key thing is to ensure that retail store inventory is also made available across online sales channels. eCommerce point of sale for offline and online need to be integrated directly or through master inventory software to feed off one master stock figure.
2. A point of sale system is for selling, not running an eCommerce business
A common mistake by eCommerce businesses is to use a retail point of sale system for inventory management and eCommerce order fulfillment. Do not let the need for an offline point of sale system dictate which systems you use to run your eCommerce business as your grow. Retail point of sale systems are traditionally weak at goods-in and order picking for example, struggling to do both processes quickly and accurately.
If you have a bottle-neck at goods-in and are shipping the wrong things to customers, consider eCommerce warehouse software to tackle this part.
3. Spend time to research the latest innovations as spending big on a retail point of sale with a fancy till will almost certainly not be required anymore
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has founded an innovative company with a product that aims to solve the problem of customers who want to pay by card, not cash and the retailer is small so. The square reader plugs in the top of an iPad or iPhone and you can swipe the magnetic strip on a card through it before using an app to process the payment on screen.
4. Offline eCommerce point of sale for trade shows and events.
Trade shows are renowned for being lucrative for retailers. Mobile points of sale tend to be either standalone point of sale applications or require a hefty investment in a core retail point of sale system.
Ideally you need an integrated mobile point of sale and inventory management software to track the movement of inventory out to the trade show and back again. By occasionally transmitting the data between the web site, the warehouses and the mobile location at the trade show, it allows you to display accurate available stock levels. You'll know what your sales were at the show and most importantly you do not miss out on sales by not showing all of your stock, no matter where it is. Consider an iPad or Andriod device for simple and cheap mobile point of sale.
In summary, if you primarily fulfil orders from your web site, but also have a small store or attend trade shows and want to connect them, you should look to your stock control software to provide the eCommerce point of sale.
Author: Oliver Rhodes