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Technology is an established essential in retail. A retail business without a point of sale system seems unthinkable. Retail technology drives growth, through enhanced customer experience and increased sales. It generates efficiency, from cost and time savings. Retailers are now building out from the core retail POS system, and integrating additional functionality. That’s when the real magic of synergy happens, creating omnichannel retail ecosystems that increase the value of their retail technology investment.

Let’s take a look at the systems that are most frequently integrated into an omnichannel retail ecosystem – mobile POS, loyalty, click and collect, and inventory management – and the very tangible benefits that retailers get when they include them in their retail technology mix.

Mobile POS

Mobile POS enables staff to interact with customers in the aisle, rather than simply at the checkout. Armed with operational information via a mobile device, they can engage with the consumer during the shopping process, not just at the end. They can:

  • Provide information about the product, satisfying the 45% of shoppers who say that they would love store staff to have more data at their fingertips.
  • Access the customer’s profile to help make tailored upsell or cross sell recommendations.
  • Minimise ‘showrooming’ – 83.8% of customers research in a store and buy later, but of course the ‘buy later’ is out of the retailer’s control, and may be from a competitor. Engaging with the customer in store helps to capture the sale on the spot before the customer leaves.

  • Sell goods that are not in the store – using the mobile POS to find and order it from another store, saving what would otherwise have been a lost sale.

  • Take payment, speeding up checkout by avoiding the queue.

  • Mobile POS enhances the customer experience, effectively manages inventory and increases sales by up to 10%.

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs, integrated with the retail POS system, provide insights about buyer behaviours and preferences. Retailers can:

  • Better serve customers who have browsed and researched online before coming into the store to buy – 91.4% of shoppers do this. If they are loyalty program members, staff (using mobile POS) can interact with them, understand what they have browsed, and guide to finalise the sale.
  • Tailor personalised campaigns and offers.

  • Better predict trends and inventory requirements.

  • Make customers feel valued and special.

Implementing a loyalty program is a strategy with strong payback in sales and profit: loyalty programs generate around 10% in additional sales, and just a 5% increase in customer retention can push up profits by upwards of 25%.

Click and collect/BOPIS

Click and collect, or Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) grew significantly during the pandemic, and is predicted to continue its upwards trajectory, with future growth estimated at 26%.  Click and collect/BOPIS is an example of true online/offline integration, combining digital and brick and mortar channels in a single transaction. Retailers implement it because:

  • Shoppers demand omnichannel: around the world, 50% of shoppers choose to shop via click and collect

  • It offers customers the ease of online ordering, the convenience of picking up when it suits them, and no delivery fee.

  • They get more customers into the brick and mortar store, where they have the opportunity to upsell (often utilising mobile POS), or entice them with targeted loyalty program offers.

And the payoff? Offering click and collect/BOPIS for customers can increase sales by 5%.

Inventory management

When inventory management is integrated with the retail POS system, retailers have automatic updates to inventory as sales are made. They benefit from:

  • Flawless inventory management – with a real-time view of what stock is where, and how fast it is moving, they can better predict future demand, increase purchasing accuracy and eliminate stock outs.

  • Inventory visibility – a single, consolidated view of stock in stores, warehouses and distribution centres. When this is available to in-store staff, via mobile POS devices, staff can effectively offer an ‘endless aisle’ service to customers and minimise lost sales.

Integrated and flawless inventory management increases customer satisfaction, drives loyalty, generates greater sales and also drives up to 4% saving in inventory carrying costs.

As we can see, there are very tangible benefits to retailers of expanding the functionality of their retail POS system by integrating it into an omnichannel retail ecosystem.

The starting point for retailers wanting to achieve these benefits is to go beyond having a basic retail POS system, and step up to flexible, modular, cloud-based retail technology. The retail POS system is the foundation on which the omnichannel retail ecosystem is built. With more than 50% of all POS software currently over five years old, retailers need to consider whether it’s time to change their platform, in order to make the most of the benefits of integrating additional functionality that will drive very tangible retail benefits.

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