Running a business is tedious, but running a multichannel business requires even more dedication and hard work. Just as there are many factors that go into managing a brick and mortar store, there are different factors that go into running successful eCommerce operations.
To better manage your physical and the eCommerce side of your business, consider using a point of sale (POS) system. These systems not only increase sales, but they're also able to streamline business operations and improve customer experience and satisfaction.
Another great benefit is that you can use a POS system to manage your inventory. Gone are the days of manual and erroneous inventory reports. Here’s how you can integrate your eCommerce and physical inventory using a POS system.
In order to figure out where to start on your POS system and eCommerce integration, you'll first need to examine the current state of your retail operations. Here are some questions you'll want to ask:
- Do you already have an existing website?
- Is the website set up with an online shopping cart and other eCommerce features?
- Do you own a POS system?
- Are you starting from scratch?
If you already use a POS system in your retail store, you'll want to start the integration process from there. Contact your POS system provider to see what online shopping cart or eCommerce site that the system already integrates with. You'll also want to ask what kind of features and functionality are available and if they mesh with your business model.
Depending on the age of your POS system, you may find that it's too old to integrate with a modern eCommerce provider. If this is true for your business, you'll need to upgrade your POS system so that it can integrate with an eCommerce site. Upgrading also gives you access to the latest and greatest POS features.
Starting from scratch? No worries! This requires a bit more work but you do have the ability to build something awesome from the ground up. In this instance, search for a POS system that offers eCommerce integration and then get to the task of setting up your website!
Before you put any money towards an eCommerce site or a POS system, there are some finer details that you’ll want to work out. First and foremost, you'll want to ask about the cost. Ask how much it costs to integrate the two systems and whether you pay per month or for the entire year.
You'll also want to ask each provider how integration works. Figure out what type of data is shared between the two systems and if the data is updated in real time. The more automated the process the better.
It's also critical to ask about credit card processing. Assuming that you already accept credit cards, you want to ensure that you can use the same merchant with your eCommerce site. Be sure to ask about any additional fees and any increases in cost per transaction. Online stores typically have a higher transaction rate because these transactions are keyed-in versus swiped.
- Who completes the integration
- Additional integration options (ie. email marketing platforms, accounting software, etc.)
- What kind of customer service support is provided (24/7 is ideal)
Now that you know where to start in the integration process and the pertinent questions to ask before choosing a solution, you may be asking what the benefits are of integrating your eCommerce site with a POS system.
As a business owner, you're likely all about making wise business decisions. You want to spend money where it makes the most sense, and integrating these two systems offers a high return on investment. With both a physical and online presence, you're able to create an omnichannel commerce experience. This enables consumers to locate your business via your website, social media or at your physical location.
Another driving factor is that we live in an online based world. Online shopping has become so popular because of the convenience and flexibility that it offers. Without an eCommerce site, you risk missing out on hundreds, possibly thousands of potential leads and conversions.
Integrating an eCommerce site with a POS system may seem daunting, but the process is well worth the time, energy and money. No matter where you’re starting out, if you want a successful business, integration is vital.