The retail environment has experienced major changes in the past ten years thanks to the broadening of retail options.

The world of online shopping and the plethora of retail avenues it offers as well as the broadening of multi store operations are just two examples of the change retailers have had to contend with.

Not only do these changes in environment pose greater challenges for effective retail management but customer expectations have also changed.

With customers now having a choice as to how to interact with retailers, both in store and online, the expectation of a seamless and integrated offering has arisen.

The modern shopper can be described as one that is happy mixing purchases from online and in store channels. Often purchases are made from the same retailer in both environments. The customer views their interaction with the retailer as one, no matter whether they are in store or online.

For retailers seeking to maximise their customer experience, the challenge to provide a seamless shopping experience whether online or in store is real.

Imagine a customer purchasing a product online and then venturing to their retailers physical store to return the
product due to it being the wrong size? In this instance, being able to swap the product without fuss is the customers’ expectation, after all the item was purchased from the same business.

The challenge for the business is to identify and verify that the product was purchased by the customer, return the product back to stock and record the sales of the new sized item. Further complexities can arise if discount or special offer criteria exist or loyalty programme implications.

What may seem simple is actually proving to be quite complex for many retailers.

A retailer who operates in the online and physical store environment now has the challenge of integrating systems to keep a consistent customer experience.

An integrated IT lead solution is the key.

Data that is shared across platforms, in real time, is the goal. Sounds easy but in reality it is a complex IT task due to the amount of communication required between online and physical stores as well as the myriad of rules around the data flow. The good news is that smart POS providers have you covered.

When your ecommerce solutions seamlessly integrate with in store POS solutions your business has the ability to build a consistent customer experience. This consistency in approach may go unnoticed by the customer but definitely will become an issue if not offered.

Whether viewed as a means to prevent a negative customer experience or as an opportunity to provide the most flexible shopping experience where online and in store shopping combine, the opportunities that an integrated IT solution can provide is immense.

To find out more how the iVend solution can help you develop an integrated ecommerce and in store solution contact the team at CitiXsys.

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