Demystifying the Fusion of eCommerce with the in-store EnvironmentBY Matt Neale
The increasing expectations and sophistication of the instore experience is evolving rapidly, there has been a lot of attention and effort put into this as retailers have responded to the increasing reach of online retailers.
Much of this change is being driven by the consumers, who are demanding that the same levels of access to information and immediate service they have online, are available in store.
POS systems are becoming increasingly connected within the overall business system architecture, and retailers who are clinging to systems that have limited capability for integrating to other systems, are finding themselves increasingly struggling to adapt to the rapidly evolving customer purchasing journeys.
This fusion of the online store with the physical is seeing stronger demands being placed on POS, ultimately being met largely through eCommerce platforms.
eCommerce has been designed from the outset to scale in ways POS has never had to, to provide a high level of self-service and rich information – think product reviews, full descriptions and specifications - these are generally not available instore, and a much wider array of payment options.
The time is here where the question for retailers is “do you need a traditional POS system?”
Traditional POS systems are expensive to deploy and maintain, and changing to a new one is a daunting project for any retailer with more than a handful of stores. The digital store has arrived in the physical store, and ultimately customer experiences on the shop floor are changing.
Not that long ago, there was a perception that “pure play” online retailers had an advantage in reaching customers with information, offers and cost savings. But now the “bricks and clicks” are finding that they hold the advantage with physical presence and the tangible experiences they can create with product, service and presentation. The fusion of the digital and physical stores is a competitive advantage in the customer journey, as retailers aim to exceed the new expectations of their customers and the offerings of their competitors.
It is important for retailers to look beyond their traditional POS systems to emerging players in this space, and for opportunities to leverage the systems they already have that can complement and extend their current offerings.
This means functionality that enables customers to order in store, and to take advantage of the increasingly personalised offer that has, until recently, only been available online. For retailers to have access to their customers order history, and to provide a complete view of the customer to enable increased loyalty and spend through a seamless and elegant customer experience, is the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt joined eStar in 2000, and is eStar’s Chief Technology Officer, with responsibility for the technical architecture and direction of eStar’s products and solutions. He currently leads the Research & Development group, and prior to that was responsible for the day-to-day production management of the software development team.