The Evolution of the POS System from Cash Registers to Cloud

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“The Incorruptible Cashier” invented in 1879, was considered a landmark invention in the retail industry. Since then the evolution in the POS software has come on leaps and bounds, from the old, bulky cash registers to an elegant cloud-based software that’s compatible with your smartphone. Today we walk you through this 200-year-old transformation.

 

Back when the first Point of Sales system came out, it served as nothing more than a cash register which could record transactions. 

 

How it all began

So the story goes that a man named James Witty, a salon owner whilst on aboard a steamboat to Europe got intrigued by a machine which counted the number of times the ship’s propeller went round. 

He realized that the same concept could be used to count the cash at his salon. James and his brother John, a mechanic, made it their goal to design such a device and three prototypes later they had a working model. 

A few years later James sold his company and the patent of the cash register to “NRC” (National Cash Register) a company that still exists till today as NRC Corporation.

 

Welcoming the Millennium

Following “NRC”s take over, several progressive changes were made to the cash register. As a result in the early 1900’s several businesses started using it. The cash register solved a genuine problem for enterprises and made managing capital along with recording transactions effortless. Business owners would get cheated less because of the cash register and by the middle of the 1900s, every medium to large scale business had a cash register.

 

Cybernated

By the end of the 20th century, the retail industry saw the rise of electronic registers which were computerized. Along with bar codes and credit card terminals, these innovations kick-started a new era in the “Point of Sales” industry. 

 

mPos

“The Future of Mobile is the Future of Everything.”  Eventually, most software systems move to the phone and this move is considered the last step in the evolution of a product. 

The original cash register has made this step already. 

Today Point of Sales systems are integrable with a smartphone and this step in the evolution is integral as it preserves hardware costs.

 

It’s not just the hardware that has evolved over the years. Point of Sales Systems has moved from being simple cash registers to full-fledged retail management solutions. Modern Software Management Systems offer inventory reporting and customer management that save data on an external cloud. 

 

More than 144 million people will make online purchases in South East Asia in 2019. This amount is projected to reach 50% by 2024.  The retail market is still at its infancy stage and Point of Sales systems are going to have to handle a large volume of transactions as the industry picks up.

 

Retail is all about the value and its perceptions

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Customers are the king and queen in retail and they are valuable to the business. On the flip-side, customers are also seeking value in what is being offered to them. Retail brands across the globe are fiercely pegged against each other in this value game, and the one who offers the best value as perceived the customer will be the clear winner.

Let’s try to understand this better. In this day and age of technology driving the industry towards innovation and disruption, there is no ambiguity anymore in the current and future roadmap for retail businesses to survive and thrive. One thing is clear, the retail brands who standout on their customer experience expectations will taste success. However it is important to understand the customer experience paradigm.

Traditionally, retail was transactional and product focused, but that is no more the case. As the focus of the business pivots on the customer, the customer experience paradigm has undergone a significant shift since the early retail days. This shift has largely been the result of technology enabling customers equipping themselves with more information and decision making power, thus putting them in the driver’s seat who are now calling the shots. Fundamentally, the customer experience is all about the value the customer perceives in two ways – i) their interactions with the retail brands, and ii) the offerings they receive from those brands in terms of products/services. Thus, it all boils down to the value the customer receives from their relationship with the retail business.

For retail brands, the best part is that now they have multiple opportunities to provide perceivable value to their customers. As retail has moved from transaction focused to being more customer centric and other factors have influenced the sector big-time, the shopping journey has evolved. Here is where retail brands can seize their opportunities to establish their value offerings. For example, while the customer is researching, a retail company can provide the necessary information that the customer seeks, even though the customer is not seeking information with the intention of purchase. Another example is where a customer can be offered an additional discount while their product is replaced due to issues in the products they had initially purchased. These are some of the many instances of how retailers can offer value – either qualitative or quantitative. These valued offerings will cement the brand-customer relationships in the long-run and thus prove to be a mutual benefit for both the retail company and the customer.

The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses at ETP #Futuretail, Malaysia

ETP Group, Asia’s leading Omni-channel Retail Software company hosted senior representatives from Malaysia’s leading retail organizations to discuss future challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing retail landscape. The key discussion, “The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses in Malaysia”, was led by team ETP, including Mr. Naresh Ahuja, Chairman and CEO, Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director, Mr. Pranay Pujara, Consulting Manager – Projects and Mr. Danny Foong, Business Development Manager.

The discussion was part of the ETP #Futuretail 2019 event held at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel, recently. Mr. Danny Foong welcomed the ETP #Futuretail guests and Mr. Raj Jagasia shared an overview of ETP’s growing presence in Asia. Mr. Naresh Ahuja then shared insights on the growth of the Malaysian retail industry in the context of Asia Pacific and the transition of traditional retail to modern retail, e-commerce and omni-channel retail.

Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director ETP

Mr. Raj Jagasia, Executive Director, ETP Group initiated the discussions with an introduction to ETP.

Mr. Naresh Ahuja, ETP Group,

Mr. Naresh Ahuja, Chairman & CEO, ETP Group then shared insights on the performance of retail, e-commerce and omni-channel in Southeast Asia.

Pranay Pujara, ETP Group

Mr. Pranay Pujara, Consulting Manager – Products, ETP Group presented a live demonstration of ETP’s Omni-channel Retail Solutions to establish how ETP can help retailers in Malaysia to overcome the challenges in omni-channel retailing.

Following the live demonstration a panel discussion was held with eminent industry experts. The panel shared their thoughts and opinions about the changes in the buying behavior of Malaysian consumers over the last 3 years, the value of the brand in the mind of the modern day consumers and whether the internet has commoditized brands. The panel exchanged their views on the future of malls and stores in the 3 to 5 years. They also discussed about the digital transformation of retail taking place in Asia in the next 2 to 3 years and whether it will leapfrog the US like the Asian mobile technology did. They highlighted the 3 priorities that retailers should focus on to handle the change in consumer behavior.

ETP will continue to drive the omni-channel transformation of retail businesses across Asia-Pacific, India and the Middle-East.

How retailers can leverage O2O effectively!

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The O2O concept is not new, rather it has been a buzzword for a few years now but in the last couple of years this concept has started gaining importance. In simple words O2O means online-to-offline where online channels are used to drive customers to the offline stores. The main aspect here however is to make this experience flow between the virtual and the physical channels seamless and impressive.

Below are three ways how retailers can use their existing resources to leverage O2O effectively.

Brick and mortar stores: By treating stores not just as sales channels but also as distribution centers, retailers can leverage their store network to satisfy customer needs by using store level inventory to deliver orders to customers’ homes as well as for click-and collect orders. With these new fulfillment options enabled by the store, consumers can click, collect and return goods as per their convenience. Modern day customers are demanding a better combination of value, convenience and experience and brands who strike the right balance between delivering great product value and offering superior customer experience and convenience will emerge as customer favorites.

Combination of channels: About a few of years ago retailers went about developing websites and mobile applications to expand their presence and some retailers also shifted to an online-only presence without having any offline stores since the trend seemed like the customer was increasingly going ‘digital’. Moreover running and managing brick-and-mortar stores were seen as an expensive and time consuming affair. But the modern day retailers have realized the need to go ‘omni-channel’ i.e. seamlessly integrating both their online and offline channels to enable customers to research, purchase, earn and burn loyalty points, and return, across channels. Brands focusing on getting their omni-channel right will definitely win the customer experience race.

Data Management: In order to get it right in omni-channel retailing, retailers need to manage their customers and inventory across channels. As customers randomly switch between channels while shopping it is imperative for retailers to ensure that the customer demands are satisfied, irrespective of the channel they choose. Here is where data management will help. Having insightful customer data such as past buying patterns and purchasing history, as well as accurate information of the product inventory and stock, and having all this available in near real-time will allow retailers to be proactive towards managing demands across channels effectively and thus mitigating chances of lost sales. Moreover profiling customers will also enable retailers to create and execute targeted promotions and campaigns to spike customer’s interest in the brand and thus boost sales.

3 Important Differentiators for Retail Brands to Stay Ahead of the Competition

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The retail markets across the globe are becoming increasingly competitive for 2 major reasons. On the one hand technology has disrupted the industry in multiple ways and on the other hand customers shopping behaviors have changed dramatically. Additionally, both these factors are influencing each other to further pose more challenges and create opportunities for retail businesses. In this intensely competitive scenario, retail brands need to differentiate themselves so that they emerge winners.

Below are 3 important factors that can help retail brands differentiate themselves:

Supply chain – Simply put, getting the customer what they want and where they want it is a serious concerns for most retailers as the complexity of processes and operations increase with the different channels and random ways the customer goes about shopping and ordering products. New omni-channel fulfillment options such as click and collect or BOPIS, endless aisles, reserve online and pick-up in-store, and a few other combinations have emerged over the last couple of years. Moreover, same day delivery, drone delivery, collection from preferred location, anywhere returns, and so on, have also come to the fore lately. Offering these fulfillment options requires retailers to have a solid supply chain system that can reduce the chances of stock-outs, damages and other potential risks. Thus it is important for retailers to focus on the supply chain and use technology to optimize it so that there is a smooth flow of the product from manufacturing to the consumer.

Customer relationship – As stated earlier, technology has influenced the shopper. Customers today are more informed and demanding than about a decade ago. In addition to that, they are spoilt for choice thanks to the variety in products, different channels of shopping, payment methods and accessibility to information. The customers are on the driving seats and retail brands need to be ready to fulfill the demands of the customer on their terms. This will be possible only if companies keep their customers at the focal point in the business. They will have to build deep and long lasting relationships with the customer and take appropriate efforts to understand and know their customers’ preferences. Using technology to capture and analyze customer related data and with proper customer segmentation and profiling, retailers will be able to design and create tailored offerings to the customers in terms of products and related services.

Marketing and branding – It is a no brainer that if retailers are not able to get their marketing right, they won’t be able to click. Retail companies are pumping in huge investments and efforts into their marketing and branding strategies and execution. But with so much noise around it is difficult to get noticed. In order to stand out, retail brands must adopt for a unity in diversity approach. Firstly have uniform branding and messaging, secondly identify platforms where their customers are most likely to be and thirdly promoting the brand message across these platforms will help retailers reach the desired audience with higher chance of conversions. Taking this to the next level by designing and creating offers and promotions that are hyper personalized, localized and unique will have customers wanting for more. As customer attention spans are small, retailers need to get their act together and render the maximum impact in a short time.

How does ‘CRM Software’ enhance the retail customer experience!

ETP Omni-channel CRM solution is integrated with the ETP Omni-channel Store Solution and it connects the business back-end operations with the supply and demand channels. This ensures the customer can peruse, pick, purchase, like, promote, review, search, seek information and provide feedback from anywhere at any time.Using the omni-channel retail CRM software, channel-based promotions can be developed, tracked and modified while capturing valuable customer feedback. It provides seamless visibility with a dedicated OMS engine to optimize customer order fulfilment. Customers are delighted with personalized offers and empowered with multiple retail channels, modes of payment and delivery options which further aid sales frequency.

ETP Omni-channel Retail CRM software integrated with the ETP Omni-channel POS solution ensures improved brand visibility, sustained engagement, easy access to products and cross/up-selling promotions to increase the revenue per customer steadily.

Big Data Trends You Cannot Miss Out On!

Big data analytics is on a rising curve with organisations across industries realising the role that it plays in their business growth. The estimated worth of the big data market is all set to witness a substantial increase from US$ 46.34 billion at the end of the year 2018 to US$ 203 billion by 2020. This emphasises on the emergence of big data analytics and the subsequent change in the business landscape.

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Let’s discuss the dominant trends in big data analytics :

Rising demand of big data frameworks

The demand for big data frameworks like Hadoop, NoSQL and Spark is expected to increase by about 32.9% annually. A Forrester Report mentions that approximately 60% enterprises are expected to have Hadoop clusters implemented by the end of 2018. This will accelerate big data processing, improving the accuracy of critical business decisions through real-time insights.

Data visualisation-integrated models

Data visualisation and data discovery will come to the forefront. There has been an apparent shift in the concept of data discovery from simply focussing on data analysis to offering deeper business insights. This will in turn empower enterprises to track and closely monitor visual patterns.

Big data analytics in the clouds

The volumes of data in the database of enterprises have been increasing in leaps and bounds. Despite constant efforts from data scientists to break down. Analysing such vast volumes of information has remained a growing challenge. With lack of sufficient manpower to make the best use of these data, it is time to upgrade and digitise their software systems to the clouds to simplify big data processing. This will help in interpreting the unexploited data, also referred to as ‘dark data’.

Streaming Analytics is transforming Big Data Analytics

While cloud software has been gaining popularity since quite a few years. Streaming analytics takes it one step forward by analysing data while it is still being created. This phenomenal big data analytics trend is re-defining the meaning of real-time data analytics. This also eliminates any scope of revisiting or replicating datasets, ensuring zero tolerance for delays in big data processing.

Evidently, the future lies with big data analytics. However, the big question is “What next?”. It will definitely be intriguing to wait and watch how big data analytics unfolds in the coming years and the dynamic role that it will play in interpreting extensive volumes of data.

AI Revolution in Retail and Consumer Products

Artificial Intelligence, abbreviated as AI, has been at the centre stage of business innovation since quite a few years now. It shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Instead, going by the recent trends, its adoption is expected to increase manifolds in the next couple of years. The rapidly growing competition in the retail industry requires the players to consistently innovate with their consumer products. They need to improve the efficiency of business processes and improve decision-making – exactly what AI is equipped to help them achieve. This will ensure consumer loyalty and further increase their base, helping them to stay buoyant in the challenging retail market conditions.

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A recent report titled “The coming AI revolution in retail and consumer products” conducted by the global IT company, IBM, predicts a bright future for AI-powered innovations. Conducted at the 2019 Big Show, which was hosted by National Retail Federation, the study included participants from 1,900 retail and consumer products from 23 countries.

Let’s take a look at the salient points of the report that was released by IBM’s Business Value.

  • 79% of consumer products and 85% of retail organizations that participated in the survey revealed their plans of integrating AI in their existing better supply chain planning by the year 2021.
  • Two out of five retailers already use AI, and the number is expected to become double by 2021.
  • The retailers surveyed believe that AI may push up their annual revenue growth by a significant 10%.
  • Artificial Intelligence plays an important role in automating demand forecasting and customer engagement.

 

 

 

How Click-and-collect can help boost your retail business (video)

Omni-channel retailing enables retail brands to expand their presence as it removes the dependence on a single channel and allows the use of multiple channels to interact with their customers as well as sell products. ‘Click-and-collect’ or ‘Buy online pick up in store (BOPIS)’ is a powerful omni-channel fulfillment option that is gaining popularity, globally. The below video illuminates some of its important benefits.

ETP Omni-channel Retail Software Solutions provide you with features such as ‘Click and collect’ enabling you to deliver a unified brand-customer relationship across all channels.