What is Retail POS?

Retail point of service (POS) systems empower retail staff to deliver memorable service levels and build customer loyalty in an omnichannel world.

Modern Retail POS: Driving Superior Customer Experiences

Making big, bold investments in retail POS systems means establishing a single view of the customer, inventory, and order so that retailers can deliver the end-to-end experience customers expect.

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

Innovate daily operations, maximize employee productivity, and enhance customer experience with modern retail POS software. A modern retail POS system blurs the line between the digital and physical worlds.

Today's retail POS 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).

Critical Components of the Modern Retail POS

Retail POS Feature Retail POS Benefit
Purpose-built for retail Eliminate base-code modification requirements and reduce implementation time and cost
Intuitive touch screen UI Reduce associate ramp-up time and errors
Multiple form factors (desktop, tablet, mPOS) Accelerate transactions and improve customer service
Customer purchase history, online browsing, and cart-abandon data Identify opportunities for upsell, special offers, and promotions
Real-time inventory data Save the sale and improve customer satisfaction with endless aisle order fulfillment
Intelligent order routing Optimize supply chain logistics for better margin and/or customer preference

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, and 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.

As part of a retail omnichannel strategy, POS software enables retailers to empower their store associates to better perform in-store clienteling, loyalty initiatives, and offer promotions.

Learn how these three retailers upgraded their POS omnichannel execution to grow their businesses:

Speeding Time to Market and Simplifying IT with the Right Retail POS System

It’s predicted that eighty percent of all enterprise (and mission-critical) workloads will move to the cloud by 2025 (Top 10 Cloud Predictions (PDF)). To this end, many retailers are seeking a cloud-based strategy to meet employee and customer needs.

Cloud solutions remove the burden of software installation, monitoring, patching, and upgrading. This frees IT resources to perform more value-added tasks and allows retailers to focus on business processes and innovation.

The key reasons retailers prefer preintegrated cloud applications include:

  • Speed to value: Quick deployment helps retailers innovate faster and provides the flexibility to implement change when the market requires it.
  • Get the latest and greatest features: Seamlessly receive application updates, upgrades, and new functionality as soon as they are ready. Your team can start using the new features right away to make better, more informed business decisions.
  • Flexibility for users and the business: Easy to create and maintain flexibility by getting users up and running quickly, turning on modules or components that weren't part of your original deployment, or adding another application.
  • Cut your application costs: Significantly lower the percentage of your business unit's budget that's devoted to IT spending, which means you can invest in other areas while still using up-to-date, fully functional, secure business applications.
  • United across the enterprise: Optimized to work together: retailers enjoy the consistency of information, insights, and the user interface.