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The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 22, 2023 • Issue 23:05:02

Deploying an omnichannel POS as a merchant

By David Mainayar
Oliver POS

The retail and hospitality industries have undergone significant changes in recent years, with customers demanding a seamless shopping experience across all channels. Merchants must adapt to these changes by deploying an omnichannel POS system to stay competitive. An omnichannel POS system enables retail and hospitality-based businesses alike to provide a consistent experience for customers across all channels, including in-store, online and mobile.

Here are steps to follow for deploying an omnichannel POS as a merchant (or an agency servicing merchants):

Define your omnichannel strategy

To deploy an effective POS system, you need to define your omnichannel strategy. This means understanding your customers’ behavior across all channels and identifying the touchpoints where they interact with your brand. Once you have a clear understanding of your customers’ needs, you can create a strategy that meets those needs.

Your omnichannel strategy should include:

  • A seamless way to check out online and pick up in-store, as well as a way to check out in-store and schedule a delivery.
  • Self-checkout for in-store customers and online checkout for customers shopping from anywhere else.
  • A mobile-friendly approach that treats mobile devices as a priority and allows customers to seamlessly move between channels.

Choose the right technology partner

To deploy a suitable omnichannel POS system, you need technology that can support your strategy. This means identifying a POS system that is flexible and scalable, and that can integrate with other technologies such as inventory management and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

You also need to consider the security of your POS system, as customer data is highly sensitive and needs to be protected. One novel approach you can consider with your POS is to choose a system that looks at an ecommerce store as the single source of truth. This will simplify all aspects of data synchronization across channels, whether it’s related to customers, orders or inventory.

When choosing a POS system, look for one that:

  • Is cloud-based, allowing you to access your data from anywhere.
  • Offers a mobile POS option through an app or browser, allowing you to take payments and manage inventory from anywhere in the store.
  • Provides real-time analytics as well as end-of-day and aggregate reports, giving you insight into sales trends and customer behavior.
  • Integrates with other technologies such as CRM and inventory management systems.
  • To be ahead of the curve, consider a POS that looks at an ecommerce store as the single source of truth, avoiding desynchronization issues.

Implement cross-channel inventory management or an ecommerce store

One of the biggest challenges of creating an omnichannel POS system is managing inventory across all channels. To avoid having to manually adjust stock quantities in your POS or ecommerce store, you will want a POS system that stays in sync across all channels. This allows you to automatically provide accurate information to customers about product availability and delivery times, no matter where they purchase from.

If you choose a POS that looks at an ecommerce store as the single source of truth, your inventory will remain in-sync between your in-store and online channels. Essentially, your ecommerce store will function as your master inventory, with sub-inventories corresponding to each brick-and-mortar storefront.

Needless to say, this approach requires having an ecommerce store built. There are many ecommerce platforms you can consider, from the walled garden of Shopify to the open-source ecosystem of WooCommerce.

Cross-channel inventory management involves:

  • Integrating your POS system with your inventory management system to track inventory levels in real-time OR simply choosing a POS system that treats your ecommerce store as the single source of truth.
  • Offering in-store pickup for online orders.
  • Offering in-store delivery scheduling.

Implement cross-channel customerrelationship management

An effective omnichannel POS system also requires cross-channel CRM. This means creating a system that can track customer behavior across all channels and provide personalized experiences based on that behavior. This includes tracking customer purchases, preferences, and interactions with your brand. Ensuring that basic customer information is synced across your POS and ecommerce store is an important first step. However, introducing a customer loyalty program and offering discounts and other incentives for repeat purchases across all channels goes much further toward increasing customer lifetime value.

Cross-channel CRM involves:

  • Integrating your POS system with your CRM system to track customer behavior across all channels OR simply choosing a POS system that treats your ecommerce store as the single source of truth with two-way customer data synchronization.
  • Offering personalized recommendations based on a customer’s purchase history and preferences, which may require additional staff training.
  • Introducing a cross-channel customer loyalty program, either custom-coded or through an app that is available in both your ecommerce platform and POS of choice.

Train employees to use the system

To create an effective omnichannel POS system, you need to train your employees to use the system. Employees should be able to provide a consistent experience for customers across all channels, and they should be able to answer the vast majority of customer questions. The right POS system will have an intuitive user experience that makes training staff that much easier.

To train your employees, you should:

  • Provide comprehensive training on the POS system, including how to process transactions, manage inventory, and access customer data.
  • Train employees on how to provide a consistent experience across all channels, including how to handle in-store pickup and online returns.
  • Teach employees how to use customer data to provide personalized experiences and recommendations.
  • Provide ongoing training and support as new features and updates are released.

Offer multiple payment options

Finally, an effective omnichannel POS system should also offer multiple payment options to customers, both in terms of how they pay and what they pay with (e.g. cash, credit, e-wallets, etc.). To offer multiple payment options, you should:

  • Ensure that your POS system is capable of processing basic payment methods as well as Apple/Google Pay.
  • Allow customers to split payments and park sales.
  • Offer financing options for larger purchases, such as installment payments or store credit.

Creating an omnichannel-ready POS system requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of customer needs. By defining your omnichannel strategy, choosing the right technology, implementing an ecommerce store or cross-channel inventory management and customer relationship management, training employees to use the system, and offering multiple payment options, you can create a POS system that meets the needs of today’s customers and helps your business stay competitive.

In today’s day and age, an important first step could be building an ecommerce store and identifying a POS that looks at it as the single source of truth. end of article

David Mainayar specializes in cutting-edge point-of-sale and ecommerce systems. He is the chief growth officer at Oliver, its expansive product line consisting of POS, kiosk, websites and hardware, as well as the world’s first ever Commerce Development Kit. Oliver’s reseller program empowers payment solutions companies to differentiate themselves with best-in-class commerce tools. Reach out to him at dm@oliverpos.com or +1 951-551-2243. www.oliverpos.com

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