Sometimes a project is so big that making the decision to start is put into the “need to” file, rather than on the “to do” list. This has been the case for many retailers who have known for years they need to connect their point of sale system with their ecommerce platform but could just never manage to get the project off the ground.
The option to choose whether or not to integrate your in-store sales activity with your ecommerce sales activity ended when the COVID-19 pandemic hit early last spring. Local brick and mortar stores saw a dramatic drop in sales, while online sales soared. For those retailers who had already integrated the two arms of their business, they were able to easily shift their marketing focus to their ecommerce site, directing their repeat customers to shop online and finding new customers who had to adapt to new buying habits to find their favorite products.
Since then, millions of customers have turned to online shopping to buy everything from luxury clothing, to everyday necessities, and, as weeks of social distancing turned into months, it has become clear that, for the retailer who hasn’t yet connected their POS and ecommerce stores, the time to integrate is now.
The retailer who isn’t integrated
How a retailer responds to changes in the marketplace tells consumers a lot about what to expect inside their stores, whether it’s the brick and mortar store down the street or an ecommerce “storefront” found online. When owners adopt new technologies that are meant to advance their business and provide better service to their customers, they prove they are tuned into what they and their customers need.
Retailers who have chosen not to connect their POS ecommerce business may feel they don’t have the extra time required to make decisions about the integration. Some may be unsure whether they have the technical acumen to ensure their online activity is working efficiently and secure after the integration is complete. Others may not view it as a necessity for their business at all. Whatever the reason, they have chosen to ignore the consistent trends that say buyers want the convenience, reliability, and security an integrated business offers.
The time has come when the need to take your store online can no longer be ignored. As many shoppers become equally comfortable shopping online as they are visiting their neighborhood store, the need for a tailor-made integration can no longer be put off.
What does it mean to integrate?
Retailers often find that many of the processes needed to run their POS stores correlate with those needed to run an ecommerce store. This is great news! If those activities can work simultaneously, the amount of work needed to complete tasks will be greatly reduced and communication between employees, vendors, and customers will be vastly improved.
That’s where a POS to ecommerce integration enters the picture. Retail Dimensions’ RD-Ice builds the bridges that connect matching parts of traditional retail business activity with the sales activity occurring online. By connecting your POS system to your ecommerce platform, you’ll be creating a seamless experience for everyone who relies on accurate, real time information in order to fill orders, purchase product, and communicate with customers.
“It’s clear that, for the retailer who hasn’t yet integrated their POS and online stores, the time to do so is now.”
When a retailer doesn’t integrate
Retailers who have not integrated their POS and ecommerce stores are missing out on key advantages that can give them an edge over their competition. Because many of aspects of a retailer’s business are shared—the inventory, shipping company relationships, financial activities—there are constant changes occurring that may not be accurate when needed to process another order. Not only can this affect the efficiency of a business, it can also pose a threat to the relationships with vendors and customers.
U.S. retail eCommerce sales are projected to surpass $735 billion by 2023. This allows for the perfect opportunity for retailers to push their customer experiences to the next level and set themselves up for long-lasting brand loyalty, along with a significant increase in sales. Connecting all the activities through a customized integration will ensure that accurate information is always accessible to the appropriate people. It cuts down on the time and money needed to support two parallel systems, so the employees are free to focus on other important areas of business.
Missing Out on the Benefits of Online Retailing
The information provided by a POS system and an ecommerce site is comprised of the same basic types of data. Inventory counts from a shared warehouse, payment information, customer loyalty programs, and communication with the delivery or shipping companies are typically required to be shared throughout the company. This means the data must be tightly integrated to retain its accuracy. By building the links that enable automatic, immediate updates throughout the business, retailers can be confident that what they are seeing in their records is a precise reflection of what is actually going on inside their business. If they have not integrated their POS and ecommerce stores, they are potentially crippling their bottom-line adding hours of work to keep two parallel systems updated.
Additionally, retailers often find that by prioritizing the customer experience they see higher revenue growth than those who treat their business’s data as an afterthought. With a fully integrated business, retailers provide updated inventory levels in real time to their online customers, delivery and shipping options, and cross-channel promotions and customer incentives, such as loyalty programs and sale promotions. By combining the POS system and ecommerce platforms, retailers see benefits to their customers’ shopping experience, the ordering process, and their backend efficiency that end with greater brand loyalty and broader brand awareness that brings new customers.
How the pandemic changed the game
There is no question that now is the time to integrate your POS ecommerce business. With Retail Dimensions’ RD-Ice, your integration will connect your POS system with your ecommerce platform through a custom integration that will give you the tools you need to get your work done efficiently and provide superior customer service. Our RD-Ice experts work closely with our clients to address their every need so that both the retailer and their customers can benefit from a seamless shopping experience, in-store and online and grow with the changing retail landscape.