Ten years ago, few small businesses even thought about e-commerce and POS integration. Today, it’s something all retail operators need to consider unless they have no interest in taking their business to the next level.
Integration means describing how two different companies find a mutual communication path and bring their respective technologies together to create a more comprehensive solution.
In this case, we mean a POS system provider joining forces with an e-commerce platform to create a higher-capacity small business ecosystem of solutions. Here are some integration benefits.
3 Reasons To Integrate Your E-commerce Website With A POS System
1. No More Manual Data Entry
Many small retailers run their e-commerce website separately from their POS, which isn’t the best option. When systems don’t interact, problems are bound to arise – problems like not having enough time to manage separate systems and having too many errors occur. This happens when you duplicate your efforts by transferring inventory, adding product images or descriptions, entering incoming online orders, or combining reports from one system to another manually.
It would be amazing if you could limit errors and easily post products to your website from within your POS with just a few clicks. Moreover, integrating e-commerce with POS will help you be more efficient because you will be managing inventory for your store and website in one place.
This is completely possible if your POS software features advanced e-commerce integration which allows you to manage your POS and website as one system. Once integrated, you can setup up automated purchase orders with suppliers that will reduce your overall restocking time and eliminate manual workload. Once a minimum or maximum level is attained, your system can automatically create and send purchase orders to a vendor directly.
It’s also possible to save time by sending automated email campaigns based on the CRM info collected from both your website and physical store sales. This gives you a full picture of how your customer’s shop, enabling you to better structure and improve your promotional strategy.
Where Do I Start?
Begin by assessing your current state of retail management operations. Do you have a site? Do you have a POS system in place? Do you need to start from scratch? If you have a POS provider, ask them what e-commerce site or online cart they integrate with and if the features and functionality will work with your business model.
Your POS system might be old and unable to integrate with any e-commerce provider. In this case, you might need to change the outdated system for something with more modern capabilities.
How Does Integration Work?
What system is used when you have to update inventory after getting a delivery? What data is shared between the two systems? Do you add new items from the e-commerce platform or in the POS software when you make inventory adjustments? How much will e-commerce and POS integration cost you in total? Is there a real-time update of information between the two systems?
Ask your provider about credit card processing fees. Can you use the same merchant account with your online store if you already accept credit cards there? Are there any additional fees, such as on payment gateways, or an extra cost per transaction? This is possible because online storefront transactions are keyed in on credit card terminals, not swiped like in a traditional store.
Here are some more questions to ask your provider:
- Does the POS system integrate with other business management tools such as accounting software packages or email marketing platforms?
- Do you offer customer service and support 24/7/365?
2. Inventory Available In Real-Time
Your operations become more efficient when you manage your site and store inventory within one POS solution. With real-time, shared inventory for web, warehouse, and stores, you can transfer merchandise from one store to another easily and quickly, as well as from your store to your site or from your web inventory to your store. Prevent out of stock and dissatisfied customers – when an item is sold in your store or from the site, this info arrives in your database in real-time.
Inter-store transfers are possible if you have more than one location, and one of them is running low on a specific product. You can replenish your stock based on your preset minimum and maximum values. Your POS will send orders for purchased products automatically based on those min/max settings. Then, your supplier fulfills your order. The POS does all the work for you. All you have to do is determine your optimal inventory levels upfront.
3. In-Store Returns And Pickups
Shoppers now prefer fast, easy shopping experiences. Many customers expect their order to be delivered within a day, but quite a few want to pick it up within as little as an hour. Big box retailers like Walmart are now fulfilling online orders using their store locations. It’s also possible to avail of this fulfillment model by integrating your POS with your online store. Make it possible for your customers to buy products online, speed up your delivery options, and limit shipping costs.
Enabling customers to return products purchased online at the store is an extension of this. This approach also helps increase customer satisfaction. To offer even more shopping convenience, add a store locator on your website showing stock availability in each store. Turning your stock room into a mini fulfillment center will reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and decrease delivery times.
You might have to set up the systems yourself. If this is impossible for you, get a customer service representative to help you. The first step is to sync your POS inventory with your online store either way. In the best case, you’d be offered an easy to follow, self-navigated setup guide in BackOffice to sync your POS software data to your e-commerce software.
Then, add all your products and descriptions of products to your online store. After that, you can start customizing it with different themes or built-in templates from the e-commerce platform. Colors and styles are available for all kinds of businesses.