One of the best things you can do to set up your retail business for success is to tighten up or upgrade your existing systems. Doing so helps you be more efficient, opens up opportunities for growth, and lets you serve your customers better.
For some businesses, leveling up means modernizing manual processes. For instance, if you’re using pen and paper to track your numbers or if you’re still using a cash register to ring up sales, then it’s high time to upgrade to a cloud-based point of sale system.
But what if you already have a modern POS and retail management system? What can you do to level up?
Two words: POS integrations.
If you have cloud-based solutions in your business, explore other apps that you can connect to the programs that are currently running your business. This helps you extend the capabilities of your retail platforms, so you can do a whole lot more with them.
When implemented correctly, POS integrations can reduce the need for manual work. Connecting different apps allows them to communicate and share data with each other, eliminating the need for double-entry and extra admin work.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of POS integrations that you can use in your business.
Have a look below.
If you’re selling online (and you totally should), your ecommerce platform should integrate with your brick-and-mortar store, so your sales and inventory are always in sync. The last thing you want is to sell something online only to find out that the product has already sold out offline.
The best-in-class integrations also sync your customer data, so you can view people’s purchase histories across multiple channels. That information can be super useful when it comes to personalizing the shopping experience.
If you haven’t done so yet, connect your online and offline sales channels. If you’re not selling online yet, have a chat with your POS provider to find out which ecommerce systems work best with your platform.
Did you know that Vend integrates with the top ecommerce solutions for retailers? Open your store to the world by combining Vend’s easy-to-use POS and inventory management with the best ecommerce platforms on the planet. Manage your online and in-store operations from one place while launching your brand into new markets.
Getting new shoppers to buy from you is great, but taking care of your existing customers is just as — and perhaps even more — important.
Research from Stitch Labs found that returning customers account for almost a quarter of a merchant’s revenue, despite making up less than 12% of the total customer base. Existing customers also tend to spend 15% more per order and upwards of 120% over a year.
So, set up a loyalty initiative that incentivizes shoppers to come back. You can start with a basic program (such as the one that’s built-in with Vend) by giving customers redeemable rewards every time they spend money in your store.
If you want to take things a step further, you can start personalizing those rewards or setting up different tiers based on shopper activity.
This is where a good loyalty integration comes in. Apps such as Marsello, for example, allow retailers to implement loyalty programs with different tiers and perks.
Marsello also lets you reward customers for actions beyond simply buying from you. For instance, if you can reward customers for referring your business to their friends or by sharing your content on social media.
Marketing automation and customer communications
Keeping in touch with your customers is an absolute must. Regularly touching base with shoppers not only informs them about the latest products or updates in your business, but it also helps you stay top of mind, which ultimately leads to traffic and sales.
That being said, your customer communications efforts will only be effective if your messages are timely and relevant. For your emails or text messages to resonate, you need to communicate with your customers in a way that speaks to their needs.
Of course, doing that at an individual level is difficult and impractical, since you likely don’t have time to send 1 to 1 emails to your customers.
Enter marketing automation.
Streamline your customer comms by implementing a system that automatically sends messages based on each shopper’s activities.
For instance, if an online shopper adds an item to their cart but leaves without completing a purchase, you can automatically send them an email reminding them to come back to your site. Or, if you have customers who haven’t bought anything in a while, your marketing automation system could reach out with an offer.
Marsello, once again, does a stellar job in this area. Marsello helps you generate repeat business by sending automated targeted emails based on each customer’s profile and purchasing behavior. You can use pre-built email flows designed with best-practice triggers and settings or customize your own.
Interested in Marsello? Vend users get 3 months free on Marsello Pro.
These days, it’s incredibly difficult to grow your business if you don’t have an online presence. Even if you’re not selling online (yet), there are steps you can take to get in front of shoppers on their phones and computers.
One easy and effective tactic is to showcase your brick and mortar store’s inventory online. Local searches in Google (e.g. “red dress near me”) have surged over the last few years, indicating that shoppers are increasingly turning to online search tools when looking for stores to visit or products to purchase offline.
What’s more, data from Google found that 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day, and 88% of those who conduct a local search on a mobile visit a related store within a week.
Getting in front of people searching online opens up massive opportunities for offline traffic and sales.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that let you do just that:
Pointy – Point gets your products online instantly, so you can have more customers walking through your doors.
A Pointy page is created automatically when you install the app, and your products will appear on your dedicated Pointy page. The solution also helps your store and products show up in search results.
NearSt – NearSt is a technology company with a mission to get people back into high street shops. Their technology pulls the inventory from your store and brings them into Google, helping people nearby find products in local shops.
Simply install NearSt then enter a few basis shop details. NearSt starts receiving an automatic regular feed of product information from your POS, which it will then use to create a live view of all the shop’s in-store products in the shop’s Google business listing.
Do note that in order for these to work, the solution you use should integrate with your POS system, so it can sync your inventory and only display items that you have available in-store.
The good news is if you’re a Vend retailer, you can easily connect to either Pointy or NearSt and get your Google listing up and running in no time.
Integrated payments are all about aligning the systems and platforms that facilitate the payments side of a business. For retailers, this typically means connecting your point of sale system (POS) with your payment processor, so data flows smoothly from one platform to the other.
This setup eliminates the need to manually key in customer and credit card information at the checkout counter. Because your POS is integrated with your payment processor, all the necessary information is ready when you initiate the process using your payment terminals.
It’s also important to note that modern shoppers are going beyond payment methods like credit cards. Mobile payments and “buy now pay later” solutions are increasingly being adopted by consumers, and catering to their needs entails integrating your POS with the right payment platforms.
Vend lets you integrate your POS with virtually any payment processor, so you can accept all the ways your customers want to pay — be it in-store, online and on-the go.
Keeping your finances in check is important no matter what stage your business is in, so see to it that your POS is tightly integrated with your accounting software. You’ll save a ton of time from having to do manual bookkeeping and reconciliations, and your life will be much easier when tax season rolls along.
So do yourself a favor and integrate your point of sale system with your accounting software. Your business, accounting and bookkeeper will thank you for it.
Level up your retail business with the right integrations
Running a business isn’t a walk in the park, but certain tools can make things a whole lot easier. And when you connect different solutions together, your retail biz not only runs better, you’re also putting yourself on the path to modern retail success.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.