As more technologies are being developed to supplement and enhance existing point-of-sale (POS) systems, especially as ecommerce grows and security becomes integral to both the protection of the consumer and the retailer, it's becoming more important than ever for retailers to determine which types of software and applications are integral to reaching their end goals.
As of early this year, the National Retail Federation expects that online retail will grow 8-12 percent in 2017, up to three times higher than the growth rate of the wider industry. That means that the competition will continue to get fierce, and having the right technology in place to support an omnichannel program could be the make or break component for retailers.
As POS systems growing more sophisticated, consumers now expect a seamless user experience and tailored marketing offers, regardless of when and where they shop. Here are five tips on how to utilize POS technologies to their full potential:
Lower the barrier to entry.
Whether shopping online or in-store, customers want a check-out process that is quick, secure and intuitive. Companies like Amazon are testing creative checkout methods to expedite the process and appeal to customer convenience. Some businesses allow customers who use self-checkout to scan items as they grocery shop, while others allow customers to ask their associate for in-aisle checkout, like that at Nordstroms Rack. Simple mobile apps prove POS technology doesn't have to be cutting edge; however, conversion rates will plummet if it technology is not streamlined, fast and easy to use.
Verify exclusive offers online.
One major hurdle businesses face when interested in offering exclusive discounts across multiple channels is verification. While verifying ID in person is still not foolproof, it's easier to see if a customer qualifies for a special offer. Validating affiliation with a special consumer group, such as students and military, online or via mobile is nearly impossible if there is not fraud-prevention software in place, which is why companies like TOMS and Tommy Hilfiger use verification technology to protect their exclusive discounts and allow their customers to use them no matter where they choose to check out.
Utilize big data.
It's been estimated that the amount of information on the Internet doubles every three years. As retail technologies consistently advance, companies can collect additional data about customers to better personalize their experience. Data analytics is booming, but unless that data actionable, big data is just another buzzword. There are various POS technologies that can help collect and analyze customer information post-POS campaign. This is beneficial, but there are other software providers that take it one step further; they use authoritative data sources and APIs to verify information provided by the customer against compiled Big Data to prevent fraud.
Understand customer information.
Connecting with consumers on a more personal level lets them know their business is important and recognized. By using targeted POS technologies, CMOs can create special offers that allow businesses to improve outreach and recommendations to their customers based on previous purchases, interests, affiliations. Using POS technology to improve personalization across channels only gives customers another reason to come back.
Encourage and reward brand loyalty.
There are a number of apps and software offerings on the market designed to encourage customer retention by offering patrons different types of incentives. Regardless of how a retailer chooses to build customer allegiance, exclusive discounts, freebies, loyalty credits, companies that use POS technologies to increase brand loyalty are a distinct competitive advantage. These programs allow businesses to build their customer base, increase revenue and extend a customer's lifetime value.
By taking advantage of the latest developments in POS technology, retailers can give shoppers a seamless customer experience across all channels. Utilizing data, segmentation tools, loyalty programs and protective technologies at point-of-sale allows companies to strengthen brand loyalty and increase revenue.
About the Author Marci Hansen is a co-founder and EVP of Strategic Partnerships at SheerID, the leading eligibility verification service provider. Marci has over 15 years of marketing experience in the B2C, B2B, and non-profit worlds, and has been dubbed Guerilla Marketer of the Year by Brandweek magazine. Follow SheerID on Twitter @SheerID.