Upgrade your Business with Omnichannel EPoS Integration

In our last blog, we discussed ‘omnichannel retail’, what it is, and why you need to start thinking about how to turn your organisation into a true omnichannel retailer. Online sales have been growing steadily year-on-year for the last twenty years, and COVID-19 has only accelerated that trend. We can’t know what this year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow for many years to come.

It’s no longer enough to operate a traditional bricks-and-mortar business. It’s not even enough to branch out and have an online business too. Shoppers are increasingly expecting retailers to have fully integrated online and offline operations which provide a seamless, unified, cohesive user experience. If a store doesn’t have an item in stock, customers expect the staff to be able to tell them if it’s available online instead, and vice-versa.

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Omnichannel Retail: The Basics

Online sales have been growing steadily, year-on-year for the last twenty years. Everybody assumed that 2020 would be no different and that this trend would simply continue. Of course, none of us had any idea what 2020 would have in store, or how it would affect the wider economy and how individuals and organisations can interact with each other and do business. It was predicted that online sales would grow by 11% in 2020. Instead, thanks to COVID-19, shoppers have had little choice but to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping will have increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what next year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow.

What does this mean for retailers? The massive increase in the amount and proportion of online shopping means that becoming an omnichannel retailer is more important than ever before. But what does ‘omnichannel’ actually mean? For this blog, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and revisit some of the basics, cut through the industry jargon, and help you see why ‘omnichannel’ isn’t just another buzzword that will soon fade away.

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The future is bright for Omni-channel retailers

As we begin a new decade, retailers simply cannot afford to stand still – to survive they must deliver the experience that customers demand if they are going to have a successful future.

It goes without saying that 2019 was not a good year for all high street retailers. While challenging retail conditions and high business rates have played their part, there is no denying that shopping habits have changed and many retailers have simply not kept up.

One of the biggest areas of change for retail has been the usage of bricks and mortar stores. In the past, most retail stores measured success through sales made from in-person transactions. As a result, price became the key driver for retailers to attract customers and this has led to a growth in big sale events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, while these events may have delivered some short-term gains, for many it also signalled the start of the race to the bottom. With some retailers focusing on offering products as cheaply as possible, the long-term health of many businesses was severely jeopardised. Research has also shown that sale events have even been seen to devalue products and brands in the minds of consumers, the knock-on effect of this is that consumers become less likely to shop during non-discounted periods.

To break this cycle, retailers need to look at how they can improve the customer experience. Indeed, research clearly shows that if retailers are to survive over the next 10 years then they will need to focus on customer experience. With customers shifting their shopping habits and buying more and more products online, retailers need to ensure their customer experience matches these habits.

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