As in almost every aspect of daily living, technology has become an integral part of retail for both the consumer and the business owner. Technology comes with a lot of advantages on both sides as well. Consumers can find precisely the products for which they are searching, compare prices, and make purchases from stores that are not within a comfortable driving distance. Businesses can reach more potential customers and get feedback to discover what works and what does not. Marketing has changed from the standard commercial to crafting a website that will be found through the most popular search engines. Technology is also helping businesses that see the majority of sales offline grow as well. The integration of e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) transactions in a single store system has contributed to the success and growth of many small businesses, as well as plenty of larger ones.
Benefits of a Cloud-based POS System
Many online businesses are opening brick-and-mortar store locations to meet consumer demand. Shoppers are looking for more than the standard national chain brands. They want to see unique items in-person, and to touch them and make a connection, before making a purchase. POS software puts everything the savvy business owner needs in a single program. Systems like Shopify give business owners the chance to create an eye-catching online store that doubles as a POS system for physical store transactions. Users can set up a website and add real-time product inventory. Whether an item sells online or in the store, information is synchronized automatically to provide the most up-to-date data.
Hardware is straightforward and easy to use. An iPad serves as the cash register screen, and credit cards are swiped through a plug-and-play card reader in the audio jack. For cash transactions, a cash drawer can be opened through the tablet as well. Receipts are sent wirelessly to the printer. This comprehensive system includes everything a traditional cash register does, without the added hassle. It also gives shoppers peace of mind that their private information is secure.
Other features provide even better customer service solutions. Receipts can be sent via email when shoppers would prefer to avoid a printed version. Analytics keep detailed records of pertinent information such as e-commerce page views, product inventory, and sales history.
It is this flexibility that helps successful businesses adapt and move forward.
Real Businesses Find Success
Many businesses have seen measurable growth in a short period of time when using technology to offer the best of both worlds to customers. Dylan Clifton, owner of Perception Apparel, has been running his business for only a few short years. Like most startups, he tried to limit expenses by handling store design and marketing himself. He entered the Huffington Post’s Build a Business Competition and found instantly that the entire process became easier. Perception Apparel immediately took off to the degree that Clifton intends to open a physical location eventually.
“My sales have more than doubled in the first month, and my social media efforts are growing at an exponential rate. I am now looking into expanding my shirts into brick-and-mortar locations. I have never been more confident about the success of my business,” says Clifton.
Other businesses have found similar success and credit goes to the functionality of being able to use the same software for both online and in-store transactions. Daymon John, founder of FUBU and star of ABC’s Shark Tank reality television program, hits the nail on the head about why this is such a successful model. “With this easy to use ecommerce solution, entrepreneurs save time and money, so they can focus on other aspects of their business.”
This is what most business owners want, to focus on what motivated them to start a business in the first place. Most entrepreneurs are creators. Although designing a website can be a creative expression, when all is said and done, most want a product that is easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis.
This is the modern face of retail. It is versatile and adaptable, no matter how technology continues to change.