Business benefits of integrating your retail POS solution with an e-commerce platform
Many companies with a brick-and-mortar location and an online shop keep the two separated, and that is a mistake given the nature of the always connected customer in today’s retail. There are significant benefits to integrating your retail POS solution with an e-commerce platform such as Magento into an omnichannel experience, and a variety of challenges if you don’t.
The Challenges of a Stand-Alone E-Commerce Solution
Brick-and-mortar locations still have an important place in retail. In fact, according to research cited by Retail TouchPoints, 85 percent of consumers prefer shopping in physical stores. The problem is when you try to run a brick-and-mortar location and then start using a separate online shopping platform.
“85 percent of consumers prefer shopping in physical stores.”
Stand-alone e-commerce solutions are fine when your company operates on a single channel, but once you start reaching outside of your brick-and-mortar location and interacting with customers on a variety of platforms, from social media to a retail website, those stand-alone solutions start to fall short. The focus of those singular solutions is too narrow. Before you know it, your retail POS seems a different company from your e-commerce efforts because their platforms operate independently.
Disadvantages of Stand-Alone Solutions in an Omnichannel Environment
When you operate your brick-and-mortar retail separately from your e-commerce, it takes a lot of extra effort to maintain proper records. You are essentially running two cash registers and ordering systems that don’t talk to one another.
Take inventory management, for example. When your retail POS is separate from e-commerce, you have to manually adjust inventory to reflect your sales and purchases. This can lead to poor inventory visibility and ultimately mistakes. For instance, you may have to cancel or delay an order online because you sold out the product in your retail POS or on a different channel (such as if you were selling on Amazon and your own website).
This can cost you a sale, if not a client, but working like this also affects your analytics. You can’t get a snapshot of your company if everything is constantly in flux and disconnected. To counter this disadvantage, you could spend hours manually adjusting inventories and recording sales, and most importantly, you could adopt a unified commerce system.
Advantages of Unified Commerce Throughout Your Supply Chain
When your company is omnichannel, your sales system needs to be too. Not only will you save time and money by avoiding duplicated efforts, but e-commerce integration has some important advantages throughout your supply chain. Using inventory as an example, imagine being able to see exactly how much you have in stock regardless which channel you’re using. Orders would be more accurate and you wouldn’t have to adjust levels manually. Also, you would have the ability to integrate your ordering system that you get a notification when your inventory levels fall past a point.
The benefits to introducing an omnichannel experience extend to your understanding of your customers. While you may be able to cull information about your shoppers’ demographics from your retail POS and your e-commerce platform, the two are separate, so it would be impossible to have a 360-degree view of your customers. With unified commerce, you can get that information in a single report.
If you want to explore integrating your retail POS solution with an e-commerce platform, Openbravo Commerce Suite can help. We offer omnichannel solutions for both small businesses and large corporations, as well as customized services, so we can tailor your unified commerce system to fit the needs of your unique business. Assist to our hands-on demo
where we will show you the possibilities of integrating Openbravo and Magento in a real implementation.
Tuesday 24th of May at 17.00 CEST in Spanish