Even though ecommerce is now two decades old, 90 percent of all purchases are still made in store, according to A.T. Kearney, a retail consulting firm. But just because purchases are happening in the store, that doesn’t mean digital channels aren’t having an impact. Deloitte Consulting, in a survey of more than 3,000 random consumers, found that 64% of in-store sales would be influenced by consumers accessing digital devices before and during their visit to a store. What does this all mean? When today’s digitally empowered shopper is researching or purchasing a product, the path to purchase needs to be seamless across all touchpoints.
When organizations build their systems of engagement, such as POS, around the consumer, a relevant and consistent experience across all channels emerges. A study conducted by RSR Research, Commerce Convergence: Closing the Gap Between Online and In-Store, revealed that 95 percent of retailers agree they must unite the store and digital experiences as one continuous experience. Yet, 77 percent believe their legacy POS prevents them from providing a consistent customer experience across all channels. Nearly the same percentage said getting new technologies rolled out to stores is a top challenge for them.
How does POS technology that enables a seamless and continuous shopping experience benefit customers? Armed with mobile POS, in-store associates now have a 360-degree view of a customer’s shopping activity across all channels to provide customers with a more personalized experience. The store associate can also access a customer’s online shopping cart to complete the purchase in store, recommend related products or add in-store products to their online cart/wish list so the customer can finish the transaction later on at home.
From a fulfillment perspective, sales associates have full visibility into inventory availability across all locations and can complete any type of transaction the customer requires such as cash-and-carry, buy-and-send or a mixed option of take-and-send. Customers can also buy online and collect in-store
Think beyond point solutions
Swapping out legacy POS for the latest and greatest point solution won’t give retailers and their store associates the single view of the customer, order status and inventory availability needed to deliver a relevant, consistent consumer experience. Point solutions result in disjointed information. For example, store associates often find they can’t execute returns on a mobile device and can’t find the merchandise a consumer seeks because the device can’t access inventory across the enterprise.
To accomplish this, retailers must deploy a unified, cloud-based, commerce platform that connects the front end, customer facing systems of ecommerce and POS to back-end business systems for financials, order and inventory management. Only then can customers seamlessly shop across multiple channels and be pleasantly delighted with a highly personalized and relevent experience every time and anywhere they engage with that brand.
Branden Jenkins is general manager of Global Retail at NetSuite, a leading provider of cloud-based omnichannel software that helps retailers transform commerce by seamlessly connecting every step of the business—ecommerce, POS, CRM, order management, inventory, merchandising, marketing, financials and customer service.