Ecommerce has exploded in popularity over the last decade. Online shopping offers convenience and selection that brick-and-mortar stores struggle to match. But many ecommerce merchants realize they still need a physical presence to create a true omnichannel experience. This is where point of sale (POS) systems come in. Modern POS solutions do much more than just process payments. They are advancing the world of ecommerce in several key ways.
But what exactly is a point-of-sale system?
Paying for products or services, as well as collecting sales taxes is done at the point of sale (PoS). Virtual sales points, such a computer or mobile electronic device, may be used to handle card payments.
Rather than clunky cash registers, modern POS systems employ tablets, computers, and phones. For the most part, POS systems work everywhere you have an internet connection, making money collection simple and rapid. Some even enable payments without a connection.
A solid Point of Sale (POS) system is an important tool for retailers who want to boost sales, maintain track of inventory, and provide excellent customer service. Non-tech-savvy retailers, on the other hand, may find it difficult to determine which POS system to purchase. Web-based, cloud POS systems have grown in popularity in recent years as a viable option for small and medium retailers in particular.
How Point of Sale Systems Is Advancing the World of Ecommerce
Boosting Brick-and-Mortar Sales
For ecommerce brands with physical stores, POS systems supercharge their in-person sales in a few ways:
- Integrated inventory management: POS software syncs with ecommerce platforms to provide real-time visibility into stock levels across all channels. This reduces overselling and ensures customers get the products they want every time.
- Order management and fulfillment: Many POS systems allow in-store pickup and returns of online orders. This provides flexibility for shoppers.
- Omnichannel customer profiles: POS solutions compile transaction data across channels to create unified customer profiles. Staff can provide personalized service based on full purchase history.
- Loyalty programs: POS systems centralize loyalty programs and apply rewards at checkout. This increases engagement.
- Contactless payments: Mobile wallet support and touch-free payment options via POS systems reduce friction at checkout.
With these capabilities, POS platforms drive higher average transaction sizes and conversion rates in brick-and-mortar stores.
Generating Valuable Shopper Data
Modern POS systems collect extensive data on in-person sales that provide unique shopper insights, including:
- Product affinity and purchase patterns
- Effectiveness of promotions and sales
- Customer demographics and psychographics
- In-store traffic patterns and behaviors
This data merges with digital analytics to create a 360-degree view of customers. With unified data, ecommerce brands can better identify audience segments, personalize experiences, and tailor merchandising strategies.
Allowing New In-Store Experiences
POS platforms enable ecommerce merchants to test out new types of brick-and-mortar experiences:
- Pop-up shops: Short-term pop-ups in high-traffic areas help raise brand awareness. POS facilitates fast setup/teardown.
- Showrooms: Showrooms with POS stations but no inventory onboard customers digitally.
- Endless aisles: In-store digital kiosks backed by POS let customers shop expanded inventories beyond what’s on the shelves.
- Mobile checkout: Staff can checkout customers from anywhere in the store with mobile POS on tablets or smartphones.
These uses of POS systems provide flexibility for merchants to create interactive in-person brand experiences.
Supporting Advanced Business Intelligence
Modern POS systems don’t just track sales—their analytics and reporting provide vital business insights:
- Granular data on bestselling items, categories, and locations empowers smarter purchasing and inventory planning.
- Integrations with accounting software improve financial tracking and forecasting.
- Custom reporting and executive dashboards surface exactly the metrics needed to make informed decisions.
By revealing what’s working across channels, POS intelligence helps ecommerce brands continuously improve operations.
Driving Further Digital Innovation
The data and capabilities provided by POS platforms fuel ongoing digital innovation in a few ways:
- Customer insights inform development of new online and mobile features.
- Order integration with in-store fulfilment powers advanced omnichannel services like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS).
- Unified data feeds next-generation technologies like digital signage, self-checkout, and more.
By enhancing digital experiences, POS systems create a virtuous cycle where physical and online channels continuously build off each other.
In summary, modern POS systems do far more than ring up sales. Their features and functionality are advancing the world of ecommerce by maximizing brick-and-mortar success, providing invaluable shopper insights, enabling innovative in-person experiences, supporting smarter business decisions, and driving further digital innovation. POS and ecommerce make a powerful omnichannel combination.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some key benefits of POS systems for ecommerce merchants?
Some major benefits include real-time inventory syncing across channels, omnichannel order management, unified customer profiles, expanded payment options, valuable shopper data, flexibility for new in-store concepts, and advanced business intelligence.
How do POS systems support omnichannel experiences?
POS platforms allow services like buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), ship from store, and easy returns of online orders in physical stores. They provide flexibility for customers and help unify data across channels.
What types of metrics and reports can POS systems provide?
Modern POS solutions can deliver detailed data on sales trends, bestselling products, customer demographics, promo performance, inventory levels, employee productivity, and much more.
How does POS data inform ecommerce merchandising and marketing?
POS data merges with digital analytics to create 360-degree customer profiles. These fuel personalization, identify underserved segments, optimize inventories, select promotional strategies, and improve experiences.
What technologies will POS systems power in the future?
POS platforms will drive advances like expanded self-checkout, EDGE computing, customized dynamic pricing, integrated IoT sensors, and more. The data will also feed innovations in AI and VR.
How can small ecommerce merchants benefit from POS systems?
Small sellers can start with cloud-based POS solutions. These are affordable and provide easy centralized management of customer data, inventory, ordering, and more across limited physical locations.
What should ecommerce brands look for in choosing a POS system?
Top priorities include seamless ecommerce platform integration, omnichannel order/inventory management, excellent analytics and reporting, ease of use, reliability, security, and flexible pricing models.
How are mobile POS solutions changing brick-and-mortar experiences?
Mobile POS allows staff to checkout customers from anywhere, reducing lines and enabling more interactive floor experiences. Retailers are also testing self-checkout via mPOS.
Can POS systems help ecommerce brands manage and grow a franchise model?
Yes, POS delivers the centralized management, inventory control, transparent reporting, and tight integration needed to optimize operations across franchise locations.