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BW Businessworld

The Next-Gen Point Of Sale

Traditional POS systems are not aware of the extended inventory available at other stores or in the warehouse

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Picture the last time you walked into a store during the peak season – say year-end sale or Diwali sale. Observe the Point-of-sale (POS) systems in use and the store associates who are using these systems. Would you say these are state of the art systems in operation or just meant to be ‘Glorified Cash Registers’? The point of sale has been around for a long time. They have been the cash registers for businesses and retailers everywhere till date. 

These traditional POS solutions are usually in-store fixed terminal solutions that just manage the store inventory and maintain the history of billing. These are self-contained systems - housing all transaction and payment history. Such legacy systems were adequate to handle activities till now, however in the age of digital commerce, these legacy POS fall short. Traditional POS systems are not aware of the extended inventory available at other stores or in the warehouse. 

Now, imagine a POS system that gives store associate teams a single tool to seamlessly manage all customer interactions across the customer buying journey. A system that helps view the entire inventory across the entire supply chain and helps the store associate offer expert advice or ‘save the sale’. This helps create an exceptional customer experience that enables retailers to leverage the omnichannel advantage. The Next-gen POS systems provide the capability to Sell Anywhere, Fulfil Anywhere and Engage customers anywhere in the store context.

Let us now look at some of the advanced technology trends that are disrupting the POS landscape.

Digital commerce is aided by emerging technologies such as mobile, cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence. Next-generation POS systems are born in the cloud. They are always current, seamlessly interconnected and continuously adaptive to business needs. This also helps retailers to focus more on customers and less on systems. They address the strategic and tactical business needs across customer experience, brand management, store operations, and supply chain. 

In conclusion, some of the aspects that a next-gen POS needs to have are:

  • Omnichannel support: Next-Gen POS is equipped with all capabilities that are needed to turn stores into the center of the omnichannel experience: Omni cart, Omni fulfillment, returns, exchanges, cross-channel promotions, complete customer transaction and interaction history across channels, etc.  
  • Resilience: Highly-reliable, always-on store operations is imperative to meet today’s shopper expectations. Retailers need a certainty that store associates can engage with and delight customers even when the network fails. In case of a network failure, local point of sale clients should be able to continue to operate enabling store associates to engage with customers, complete sales, and manage service inquiries. 
  • Intuitive Interface across all form factors: Retailers need to have a choice of device deployment to match different store strategies - permanent stores, pop-up locations, high-touch flagship stores, or high-traffic volume locations, etc. Next-gen POS should provide a seamless, responsive interface across device form factors including mobile, tablets, etc.
  • Personalized customer engagement: Next-gen POS should enable store associates to personalize customer interactions to drive sales and deliver exceptional in-store service. The next-gen POS is at the heart of creating exceptional omnichannel experiences that are critical to pleasing customers, increasing sales and maximizing profits.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
point of sale customer experience Customer engagement

Ushasri Tirumala

The author is Senior Vice President & General Manager, Manhattan Associates

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