In an ideal shopping world, customers enter a store, scan the price tag of a dress and pay for the goods at the point of sale. Virtual stylists advise you without waiting and let you pay directly via a link. Customers who pick up their online orders in the store not only receive a package, but are also greeted with personalized recommendations for suitable products. This ideal world is not that far away.
“The rapid changeover to digital processes, which was observed at many retailers during the pandemic, is accelerating the establishment of the next-generation point of sale,” explains Pieter Van den Broecke, Managing Director Benelux and Germany at Manhattan Associates. The dealers were able to continue serving customers in their stores using Click & Collect or Curbsite Pick-up (pick-up in front of the store) while at the same time processing online returns in the store.
Point of Sale: Three important steps when shopping
“The demand for these services will outlast the pandemic,” says Pieter Van den Broecke with conviction. That underscores the need for retailers to ensure they are equipped with the right tools to serve customers seamlessly across multiple touchpoints. Consider the point of sale as part of the customer experience The tasks of the branch in optimizing the customer experience are of central importance, as a look at the three decisive purchasing steps shows:
- Pre-purchase: Traditionally, retailers only looked at the customer in a local area when advising or initiating a purchase. Today, a company-wide view of the customer is possible: retailers have full insight into the purchase history and can also use digital data that was collected online or in another branch.
- Purchasing: With regard to out of stock goods, the customer experience used to be associated with many obstacles and setbacks, which often did not have a positive outcome. Today, thanks to a successful omnichannel offering, customers can purchase items that are in store as well as items not available on site with a single purchase. Subsequent delivery can be made to your home or branch if you wish.
- Post purchase: In times of statically separate online and branch channels, it was practically impossible for customers to return goods purchased online in the branch and vice versa. These days, this is no longer a problem for most chain stores, just like a return in another branch. The tasks of the shops after the purchase now also include using the data about customers collected on site for customer loyalty or making it available for the entire company.
Point of Sale: The future of e-commerce is shops
Overall, the role of the modern point of sale has moved a long way away from the rather superficial function of earlier generations – pure sales. Today it is the key to unified retail, which makes activities such as endless aisle, click & collect, online store fulfillment, orders, customer care and customer loyalty possible in the first place.
“Trading companies must therefore reposition the point of sale as a hub for order processing,” confirms Pieter Van den Broecke. The advantages are obvious: retailers who have the option of handling their goods in the store experience higher sales growth, namely 114 percent more with Click & Collect and 60 percent more when shipping from a branch.
So the future of e-commerce also lies in stores. To meet customer expectations, retailers need to establish a sell, fulfill and engage mentality across all channels Choose the right provider who is able to deliver over the long term ”, is the advice of Pieter Van den Broecke.
Manhattan Associates is a solution provider in the field of supply chain and omnichannel retail. This brings together information across the entire company so that front-end sales and back-end supply chains match exactly. The software, platform technology and in-depth experience support users in realizing growth without sacrificing sales and earnings targets. (sg)
Also read: The future of omnichannel and the special role of the point of sale