As consumers migrate out of their homes and into storefronts in numbers not seen since pre-pandemic, retailers are revolutionizing their point-of-sale processes and networks to cater to the modern window shopper.
If you build it, they will come back
We’re almost full circle beyond the Covid 19 pandemic, a trend starting to show itself through consumer shopping behavior. We’ve grown tired of the experience-less online shopping and are back amassing in brick-and-mortar establishments. In fact, 61% of shoppers prefer buying from an establishment with a brick-and-mortar location versus solely e-commerce and 62% of North Americans plan to shop in person in 2022, a number on the rise.
“Will we walk right back in and out of our favorite stores the way we left them? If not, how will our in-person customer experience change? What have retailers learned about the customer experience during a two-year hiatus? Believe it or not, it’s our last moments in a store that make the most impact and are seeing the greatest changes.” Says Connie Testa, CSS TEC Managing Director.
Why a new-age POS system matters
The point-of-sale stage of a buyer’s experience hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last few deceased besides the expansion from cash to card and digital forms of payment. Registers and queue lines leading you to the end of your shopping experience are the norms.
They shouldn’t be though, as 70% of consumers have identified the checkout experience as the biggest pain point in shopping. Industrious retail businesses are looking to change that. Modern POS systems not only ease the purchasing process for in-store customers but also promotes customer retention. A generally accepted spread in retail says 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, the ones that had a good experience checking out and can’t wait to come back in. Even more so, 79% of shoppers make their impulse buying in-store, a resounding group sure to motivate retailers to step up their POS experience. Technical upgrades need to be made, but it all starts with Wi-Fi.
Why buy Wi-Fi?
A modernized checkout network includes more wireless hardware and decoupled software requiring much more bandwidth. Your tablets, in-store applications, endpoint software, and more need robust Wi-Fi for full functionality to handle the highway of customers. Invest more capital in your Wi-Fi capabilities and expand your digital autobahn for more lanes of traffic.
Upgrade your hardware and software components
Once you’ve bolstered your Wi-Fi capabilities, you’re ready to add in the hardware and software components responsible for streamlining your POS. To manage all your in-store devices as well as your native shopping and POS applications, build a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) architecture. SD-WAN allows retail businesses to manage new hardware like tablets and square readers for POS while supporting application software, data flow, and other services.
On a basic level, SD-WAN decouples network and control planes which abstracts traffic management and monitoring from network hardware making it more accessible. It virtualizes resources and inventory which, in turn, boosts performance and enhances network efficiency while lowering ownership costs.
SD-WAN gives you the platform on which to build your POS hardware into. Establishments are doing away with traditional closed-network hardware for portable tablets capable of POS from anywhere on the selling floor. These devices are often referred to as mobile POS or mPOS. This allows associates to stay with the customer through the checkout without the hassle of bringing items through a checkout queue. The sale is streamlined and the customer leaves with their purchase in hand directly from where they found it.
Taking things a step further, some businesses are getting rid of physical POS systems completely by offering native applications to shoppers in-store. Customers join the in-store Wi-Fi and fill a virtual shopping cart with desired goods before checking out through a payment portal within the application.
Mobile tablets open floorspace by eliminating checkout queues and mobile applications eliminate the POS tablets themselves lowering overhead hardware costs even more.
A few models to consider
Retailers are introducing hybrid buying models combining online and in-store purchasing and returning to give customers the flexibility of shopping online with the desire to shop in-store. Here are three popular models of hybrid retail sales.
- BOPIS – This is a buy online, pickup in-store model easing mitigating time for customers and delivery costs for retailers. It also promotes additional purchases when buyers are in-store.
- ROPIS – This is a reserve online, pick up in-store model allowing retailers to organize purchases and take payment in-store for said items. It allows for extra product promotion in-store before a sale is finalized.
- BORIS – This is a buy online, return in-store model that is the closest to a full e-commerce system. The caveat is that customers must make returns in-store if necessary, a great way to get customers in front of other products and offers. Many customers even find returning items in-store easier than packing up an item, obtaining a shipping label, sending it out, and waiting for compensation or a replacement item.
Partner with CSS Tec to bolster your IT projects with the best technical talent on the market
Focus on your migration into the POS technology of the future by partnering with CSS Tec to handle your talent. With expertise in placing technically sound candidates from back end to front end and cybersecurity to cloud administration, CSS Tec builds technical teams with resources primed to fulfill your technical needs. Connect with CSS Tec today to utilize the best technical talent on the market!