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June 9, 2011

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Rethinking the Point-of-Sale Experience

By Larry Walsh

If you need a distraction, head over to BestPOSSoftwareDeals.com, a new site by One Step Retail Solutions. The site is dominated by a spoof of the old Apple vs. PCs commercials, in which two women compare and contrast their respective platforms. The point they aptly get across is that it doesn’t matter whether a retailer is using a Mac or PC-based POS system, they both do essentially the same thing: take customers’ money at the time of purchase.

But the video does mention some subtle points that shouldn’t be so subtle, such as synching customer orders with Web sites and linking POS activity to inventory controls. These are increasingly important considerations for POS systems, which really do more than take cash from customers. They are control points for greater business intelligence.

The days of the cash register as the primary POS are over, and online portals as the solitary POS for eCommerce are no longer independent. Ensuring seamless commerce, business intelligence and user experience requires integrated systems that link and share POS, business intelligence, collaboration, logistics and social interaction. These systems were previously standalone, which makes the sharing of information and functionality difficult, if not impossible.

It really doesn’t matter at what the endpoint the transactions take place. What matters is how the systems – and the data – are held together and utilized. Through POS transactions, businesses can learn much about their customers, facilitate a better user experience and automate costly and labor intensive processes.

From the customer perspective, businesses need to provide the “single shopping cart” experience. It doesn’t matter if a customer is shopping through a catalog, online or in a brick-and-mortar store, they want and need a seamless experience. If they’re in the store, they want systems that allow them to identify items, comparison shop, and log and perhaps buy when they get home. Likewise, consumers want online portals that allow them to search inventories and pickup items bought over the Web in local stores. All of that requires integrated POS systems connected to mobile solutions, Web portals and sites, CRM databases, logistics and inventory control systems, and marketing systems.

Retailers can gain a lot of intelligence about their customers through integrated systems. They can measure their shopping habits, what they buy and in what frequency and volume, their preferences for buying either online or in stores, and what affects their purchases (such as price, features, availability).

Of course, retailers can automate systems through POS. The dream of retailers is to cut down overhead through just-in-time inventory, in which product only hits the shelves as it’s needed. Through integrated POS, they can report product consumption and instruct warehouses what to deliver, where and when.

And none of this is either Mac- or PC-dependent. In fact, integrated POS systems require a plethora of cross-platform hardware and software technologies. In the end, it doesn’t matter what makes the POS tick so long as the consumers get what they need.

2 Comments
  1. Aug 27 2012

    Доброго дня! Як представник компанії і організатор, можу відповісти на всі питання!IT Mobile Technology Day буде проходити в форматі хакатона.На протязі доби в групі або наодинці потрібно створити програму під IOS/Android згідно завдань, які будуть оголошенні на початку.Організатор EPAM Systems.Час проведення 11 лютого-12 лютого 2012 р.Реєстрація та участь безкоштовні!До участі у хакатоні запрошуються як спеціалісти хай левел так і початківці.Програма заходу: Saturday, 11th February13.00– Check-in13.30-14.00 Meeting with the participants, Hackathon rules deposirticn, hacking begins14.00-16.00 – Introduction, reports concerning mobile technologiesnoon – Lunchnight – Hackathon continues. Sunday, 12th February 13.00 – Stop hacking, demo check-in 13.30 – 14.30 – Presentations begin 14.30-15.00 – Winners announced, awards Буду рада відповісти на додаткові питання!З повагою, Ірина

  2. Sep 19 2012

    Hi Steve! Many thanks on your comment! I hope the tips help!

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