Modern Retail POS: Driving Superior Customer Experiences
Retailers must evolve point of sale to point of service to stay afloat and compete with today’s innovators in an increasingly cutthroat global environment. Consumers rule, and the businesses that can fully service and predict what they want win the game. As multiple ways to attract and retain customers emerge, it’s more important than ever to understand what compels consumers to act and how to anticipate consumer trends.
Connecting, cultivating, and captivating the modern shopper requires new thinking around segmentation, engagement, and establishing trust. Retailers must understand their best customers and architect an operation that attracts them and establishes a meaningful relationship between them and the brand. Delivering on brand promise—from the point of manufacturing to doorstep delivery—means being transparent about the brand and operations. Making big, bold investments in point of sale systems means establishing a single view of the customer, inventory, and order so that retailers can deliver the end-to-end experience customers expect.
Achieving a single, 360-degree view of the customer and inventory is no longer a competitive advantage, but a basic requirement to thrive. Retailers who meet this requirement first will build stronger relationships with customers, create space for innovation projects, and make more strategic decisions that maximize their growth.
Not long ago, the in-store experience was a transactional exchange. Consumers would walk in and buy what they wanted. If the inventory was not in-store, options were limited by distance, choice, and convenience. The way today's consumer views the shopping experience is more complicated and the market is more competitive than ever. The in-store experience needs to be engaging, as increased consumer expectations require retailers to have visibility to inventory across channels.
Research conducted with more than 5,000 consumers across four key regions has found that all channels must be complementary to enable the widest variety of experiences:
- 53 percent of consumers feel that personalized offers are important to their shopping experience
- 57 percent of consumers think knowledgeable in-store staff are important to their brand experience
- 71 percent of consumers say that the speed of service, checkout experience, and delivery options are important to stay loyal to a retailer
Modern Point of Sale Systems
A modern POS system blurs the line between the digital and physical worlds. By empowering associates with technology and visibility to real-time inventory, purchase history, online browsing, and cart abandons, employees can not only save the sale with endless aisle capabilities, but they can also increase basket size and same-store sales. Ultimately, retailers must create an efficient checkout process, minimize wait times, and increase productivity to reduce operational costs and support their global business across all channels. In modern retail, POS is a linchpin in the omnichannel customer journey.
The components of a successful retail POS experience are underpinned by a smarter, modern approach. Today's point of sale systems must have the ability to:
- Accept customers' growing range of preferred payment types
- Quickly find and hand over Buy Online Pickup Instore (BOPIS) orders
- Accurately answer shoppers' questions on any product
- Make recommendations for customers based on their purchasing history
- Untether store associates from the cash wrap and allow them to deliver a higher level of customer service from front of house to the dressing room
- Enable complete transactions from tablet or mPOS devices
- Comply with EMV and PCI requirements
As studies show more than half (57 percent) of retailers said they are arming their store employees with mobile technology; and another 13 percent plan to. The point of sale system must allow retailers to transact and interact as they choose: Whether using a traditional register, portable solution, tablet or handheld, it's point of service hardware. These experiences are not specific to just one form factor—providing superior customer service is a retailer's best differentiator. To drive customer engagement when and where appropriate, retailers need the flexibility to ensure whether docked or portable, they can choose the form that best suits their needs. Many in-store mobile functions are related to customer-facing interactions, with the same study reporting that the key functions employees are performing include: accessing inventory levels/product availability (67 percent); accessing product information (64 percent); and clienteling/assisted selling (42 percent).
Tailor the Customer Experience with Point of Sale Software
Customers do not think in terms of channels; they simply think in terms of their shopping experience. Whether that experience is traditional cash and carry, buy online/pickup in store, buy online/return in store, or buy in store and ship, the focus should be on relevancy, convenience, and service. Convergence is key: blend the customers' digital journey with their traditional shopping experience to win in both worlds. Order management, order brokering, and customer engagement solutions are essential to delivering an experience that bridges gaps between online and traditional retail point of sale functionality to deliver a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints.
Retailers that build out their own omnichannel suites face the challenges of selecting all the components themselves, the costs of integration, and the manpower. The result is a lengthy, labor-intensive, costly integration. In fact, it can take up to 10x the cost to integrate disparate omnichannel solutions as opposed to procuring a preintegrated suite.
A preintegrated omnichannel suite addresses the issue of solution components not working together. It eliminates the pain retailers face to build their own suites, takes care of the integration challenges, and delivers a true omnichannel experience.
Learn how these three retailers upgraded their POS omnichannel execution to grow their businesses:
- The Prada Group adopts Oracle Cloud Solutions to support operational efficiency and effectiveness
- JOANN Stores tailors better customer experiences with personalized offers
- TWINSET, Italian clothing brand, modernizes point of service to increase storefronts and better engage customers