Integrating EPoS Systems with Ecommerce
Implement an electronic point of sale for your small business and start selling efficiently
Physical retail stores that want to expand their sources of sales often face problems merging multiple sales channels with their current retail system. They may attempt to deal with multiple channels by managing two or more sets of figures and they convert these data for the retail system, sometimes manually. Even worse, the retailer may create a separate order fulfilment process for each channel. This situation is both error-prone and inefficient.
It can often lead to customer frustration. For instance; an item appears to be available on the business website and then shows up as “out-of-stock” at checkout time. This situation occurs because the retail shop sold the item without automatically reflecting an update to the website. In addition, delayed sales reconciliations affect the entire supply chain. Snapshots of stock levels are difficult to obtain, and the supply of popular items does not keep up with customer demand.
To handle all this with today’s Electronic-Point-of-Sale (EPoS) software the outlets, website and mail order operations integrate seamlessly into a retailer’s existing retail system. This step moves the retailer to a more efficient business operation.
How EPoS Works
EPoS integration merges a business’ separate sales channels into one from the viewpoint of the retailer. From the customer viewpoint, the available stock of items, pricing and the order process appear consistent regardless of their order method.
Internally, the supply chain synchronises instantaneously and can be accessed from different departments via identical software programs. Whether a customer order initiates via an Internet application, in-person, by phone or through the mail, its effects throughout the retail system are reliable, consistent and immediate.
The components of an EPoS system consist of computer hardware, order entry peripherals, payment devices, and, most importantly, software interfaces to the back-office systems responsible for order fulfilment, stock control, distribution and accounting.
Orders flow into the system from keyboards, touchscreen monitors, touchpads, websites or barcode scanners. EPoS systems accept payments via credit card, online payment sites, checks, customer credit, coupons and more. The EPoS system also manages customer information.
Of course, different types of retail businesses have different needs. Customer access, sales volume, average sale price, distribution and delivery options are just a few of the many aspects to consider when configuring EPoS.
Restaurants may find that wireless touchpads are the most efficient method for waiters to take orders and print bills. Supermarkets want an EPoS system to handle a large number of items per sale, accept coupons, process returns and to work with barcode scanning equipment.
A retailer whose sales come mostly from their Ecommerce site will require an EPoS configuration that is robust and supports high throughput so that it does not impact the end customer’s shopping experience.
EPoS software must also have a flexible back-end interface that provides features essential to running a profitable business. The software should not require a specific back-office order management system, but instead must integrate into whatever pre-existing system is already in place.
Keeping track of sales, taxes, discounts, stock levels, customer and supplier price changes, system backup and recovery are additional features to examine in EPoS software.
Benefits of EPoS to Retailers
The benefits to any retailer, regardless of the number of sales channels supported by the business, cannot be overemphasized:
- Consistent inventory and pricing across channels enhances the customer experience.
- Automation increases retailer productivity.
- Alerts avoid overstock and stock loss situations.
- Price and discount management across channels improves profit margins.
- EPoS sales and marketing analysis helps tune tactics and campaigns.
- EPoS streamlines internal business data for departments such as accounting.
With so many benefits to EPoS, there is no excuse for retailers to expand their sales channels without it. For physical shops, Ecommerce sites and mail order operations, EPoS software brings them all together in one package.