The 3 important ways POS data can be used

The modern day point-of-sale (POS) has evolved to become more than just a transaction processing tool. Technology has advanced since the original cash till, and today, the POS has business benefiting features that retailers can really use across processes. Let’s focus on one of the most important benefits of the POS which provides value in intelligence and decision making – data collection.

While most retailers over the last few years have started collecting data at the POS, it’s those who are actually processing this data in the right way and drawing insights to enhance their businesses are getting ahead in the retail arena. Below are 3 important aspects of POS data and how it can be used.

Inventory and stock optimization:
When the POS is used to record data about inventory, it enables retailers to stay on top of stock levels thus making it easier to track items — from ordering through the point of sale (and even returns). This further aids in better inventory forecasting, purchasing, and this is also useful in retail marketing decisions. Some of modern retail POS software provide some important features related to inventory such as conducting inventory counts, managing returns, automating re-order points, checking stock levels at stores, among others. Analyzing the inventory data collected at the POS can enable retailers to have the right product at the right time.

Enhancing customer experience:
The POS software can be used to collect customer information while registering customers, look-up already registered customers, capture their feedback, track the frequency of their visit to the store, and also monitor their ticket size, the kind and quantity of products they generally purchase. All this data can be processed to draw powerful insights to analyze shopper behavior and their buying patterns thus allowing retailers to personalize customer experience along with having the right inventory at the store. Further, the information can also be fed-back to the store-staff at the POS to enable cross/up selling. Also, having the inventory data will allow the store associates to proactively let shoppers know about the availability of certain products. These efforts can enhance the overall customer experience.

Improving staff performance:
The POS software can be used to collect data related to sales staff. Some of the valuable metrics in addition to total sales could be basket size in-terms of price and quantity, walk-ins converted to registered customers, customers issue resolutions, and so on. The data can then be processed to learn about employee performance and understand the areas where improvements are required in terms of training and also recognizing the achievements of the store employees. In addition to this, factoring in the staff to sales ratio is an essential parameter to decide about the staffing needs for the store.

3 essential ways to make the checkout experience better

Retail is generally an emotion-driven industry. In order to keep customers happy and loyal, retailers need to consistently promote positive emotion and reduce negative emotion at each and every touch-point in the customer’s shopping journey. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in investment and innovation, with efforts to improve nearly every aspect of the retail shopping journey. One of the most important and critical aspects of the overall shopping experience has been the checkout and even today many retailers are losing out on sales due to a poor checkout experience.


Here are 3 tips on how to make the check-out experience better

Strike the right balance between data collection and checkout time
The point of sale is a great location and resource for data collection. However, while asking customers for details, too many questions can be a let-down, time consuming and will adversely affect the checkout experience. Having said that, retailers’ must not limit their insight potential at this important touch point in order to keep the line moving. Hence the right balance needs to be struck whereby there is no compromise on both fronts. Data collection and seamless checkout need not be mutually exclusive. Allowing customers to initiate the checkout process for a particular product on the retail brand’s mobile app when they get in line, or even when they enter the store, is one surefire technique that will improve the experience. Another good technique is allowing customers to finish their shopping and seeking their details at a later stage through digital mediums at their own convenience.

Use mobile POS to bust the queues
Another highly successful technique to improve the checkout experience at the store is using mobile POS (point-of-sale). A number of retailers have already used and reaped the benefits of mobile POS. The mobile POS is a powerful tool that will allow to drastically reduce the time per customer by scanning the products while the customer shops followed by billing, thus avoiding the need for customers to even enter the queue in cases where the payment mode is not cash. Thus retailers experiencing a higher number of footfalls at the store and more turnover or looking to handle large queues, especially during peak hours and shopping seasons, the mobile POS system is a definite savior. Also, mobile POS can be used as a tool to capture customer data on the go, consequently reducing wait times while billing. This will certainly improve the checkout experience at the store and prevent ‘lost sale’ situations.

Enable omni-channel integration for seamless operations
Focusing only on the store checkout experience in this day and age is just not enough. The checkout experience has to be seamless, convenient and fast, no matter which channel the customer decides to purchase from. And this can be achieved with the right omni-channel integration of previously disparate systems and processes. Having a truly omni-channel driven retail business will facilitate the seamless transfer of data regarding customers, products, inventory and so on, between the various systems including the point of sale system at the store. This enables auto population of customer data during thus negating the need to capture data during repeat purchases, or allows access to uniform product information such as pricing and availability across channels. Thus the customer can shop from wherever they want to, whenever they want to, quickly and seamlessly.

With the help of the right technology – a combination of both hardware and software, retailers can improve their business processes while creating better and seamless experiences at the time of checkout.

Trends that can change the game for retail in future


It is that time of the year where retail takes the forefront, courtesy the festive and holiday shopping extravaganza created by retail brands to entice shoppers and ring in more sales. And as the year draws to a close with the buzz around the New Year’s curtain raiser, it is time for retailers to peek into the crystal ball of the future and get a preview of the trends that could prove to be the game-changers in the year 2018 and beyond.

Predictions of what lies ahead for retail in 2018 are already doing the rounds and it is no surprise that Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual & Augmented Reality i.e. VR and AR, Internet of Things or IoT, self-checkouts, drone based delivery, and so on, would appear in most lists. The fact of the matter is that these technologies have already begun impacting the retail sector and 2018 will see this impact intensifying multifold. As such, retail businesses must look to invest in some or all of them if necessary to keep up with the trend.

Having said that, going into 2018 most retailers will still need to work on some extremely vital aspects as these will not be mere trends but rather a necessity and benchmarks for customers to pick and choose the brands they would like to associate themselves with.

The 3 important aspects are:

Omni-channel: The top priority for most retailers will be to streamline their businesses in-order to offer a unified omni-channel customer experience. So whether it is adding new channels or  integrating systems, operations, processes or handling supply-chain and omni-channel fulfillment or providing features like click-and-collect & endless aisle, retailers must get it right in omni-channel retail using the right omni-channel retail solutions.

Mobility: Based on the data from the major shopping events in 2017, mobile proved to be a force to reckon with. As mobile shopping has become a new norm, retailers looking to ‘omni-channelize’ their businesses need to integrate this channel seamlessly. Other aspects of mobility such as mobile payments and mobile POS systems would continue to be essential technologies that retailers would need to keenly invest in.

Analytics: The power of big-data analytics is something every industry has recognized and so is the case with retail. However going into 2018, analytics will have to be woven into the fabric of the retail business through the right technology to enable retailers to take important business and strategic decisions as well has help in planning promotions, providing personalization and planning seasons ahead.

Like in 2017, even in the New Year, retail will be customer-driven. Retailers must realize and appreciate the importance of focusing on the customer rather than the products, the channels and other aspects. As such, customer-centricity must run deep down in the DNA of their business to have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2018!

Conversion Rate Optimization in Physical Retail

Like online retailers, brick-and-mortar retailers need to focus more of their efforts on converting the store traffic that they receive. In today’s retail environment, no retail business can afford to fritter away their store traffic – it should be treated as a valuable, non-renewable resource. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) when effectively applied, can be the difference between delivering positive same-store sales or not.

Here are some statistics that shed light on the conversion rate scenario of brick-and-mortar stores:

Physical stores have a higher conversion rate than online

Conversion rates vary considerably across retail categories, but they also vary significantly within the same chain as a result of variations in store format, geographical location, product mix, inventory levels, and most importantly, store personnel who serve the shoppers. The reality is, each and every brick-and-mortar store is unique and in order to optimize conversion rates, these unique characteristics need to be considered.

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Impact of Click & Collect on Conversion Rate

Customers expect a seamless experience regardless of how they engage with a retailer and these expectations are blurring the lines between online and physical stores. Concepts such as Click and Collect are impacting store traffic patterns and conversion rates.

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At the store depicted here, the store traffic counts went up from 10 to 12 after the implementation of omni-channel retail solutions that enabled Click & Collect, sometimes also referred to as Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store (BOPIS) functionality.

Since three of the 12 traffic counts generated were ‘pre-converted’ i.e., already purchased online and came to the store to pick-up their purchase; they didn’t generate a sales transaction. If we don’t track that Click & Collect transaction and factor it into our conversion rates, then the only thing that we will conclude is that our conversion rates have dropped from 50% to 42% in this example.

Reasons why in-store shoppers didn’t convert

The most cited reasons why in-store shoppers didn’t purchase are:

  1. They could not find anyone to help them; and
  2. They did not want to wait in a queue at check-out.
  3. They could not find what they were looking for or the preferred item was out-of-stock.

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This draws attention to the impact in-store staff have on conversion rates. Getting the store teams engaged and encouraging them to apply insights from traffic and conversion analytics can play a winning role in driving the conversion rates at the store.

Solutions such as mobile POS, self-checkouts can address the long wait-time at the checkout counters by enabling effective queue busting at the store.

The merchandising and product availability challenges can be countered by deploying omni-channel features such as endless aisle.

In conclusion, modern day retailers need to implement innovative software solutions that allow them to transform their business in to omni-channel as well as equip them with the power of capturing and analyzing data across channels. This will help them boost the conversion rates at the brick-and-mortar store.


5 Festive things retailers should do to relish a successful shopping season.


It’s time for the festive holiday season once again, and for a retailer, this should only mean one thing: it is time to ramp up the planning and implementation of processes. The festive season is the biggest shopping period of the year, and for many retail businesses, festive shopping can be the opportunity to really boost their sales. It goes without saying that retail owners will do their best to rise to the occasion and add that extra bling to their business. In-order to help retail companies ring in higher festive shopping sales, here are a few simple things that need to be done.

  1. Festive displays – Ensuring the displays, those at the window and in-store, shop layouts, online websites, and mobile apps are aligned with the theme of the festive season, and are attention grabbing, enticing consumers to at least take a look. Once they peek, the merchandising and product displays should be able to hook the shoppers and lure them to take further actions. At the brick-and-mortar store level, elements like lights, signage, and props can be used whereas on e-commerce sites and mobile apps, color theme, banners and images can be used to bring that festive look.
  2. Festive merchandise – Merchandise and products need to have the flavor of the festive season. As such, having limited edition merchandise for the festive season or running attractive offers on certain merchandise exclusively during the festive season is sure to spike interest amongst shoppers. In some cases, even planning and arrangement of merchandise on the shelves with some festive touch can be good enough for consumers to notice.
  3. Festive inventory – To ensure that shoppers are able to get the desired products in their preferred quantities and time-frames that they are looking for as well as to reduce the out of stock situations, retail owners must plan their festive inventories right. Not only that, they should keep a track of the stock turnover and order new inventory accordingly, keeping it ready to replenish stocks without delays. In some cases, it may be advisable to have additional stocks in order to avert no stock situations. Using techniques like ‘endless aisle’, retailers can avert lost sale situations when the inventory is not obtainable at the store.
  4. Festive support – If retailers are expecting shoppers to pour in large numbers especially during peak and rush hours, they need to hire additional staff not only at the store, but also at the call center or online support to handle such situations. This would ensure that adequate number of associates are available to assist customers in such situations. In addition to this, having extra point-of-sale (POS) counters for check-out, using handled/mobile POS devices for billing can help forestall long queues. Also, retail owners should manage their websites and apps well so that they load and update quickly despite heavy traffic. All this will ensure that shoppers experience no lags and reduced wait times warding off situations of cart abandonment.
  5. Festive offers – In the festive season, shoppers look forward most for the umpteen discounts and promotions that retail brands offer. Festive discounts and promotions are a norm now and most of the retailers run various marketing campaigns to attract customers. Thus, it is important for retail businesses to offer more relevant and personalized promotions that will entice shoppers. Using cross-selling and up-selling techniques would further benefit both customers and retailers.

Omni-channel success: Weaving omni-channel into the fabric of the retail organization

As the systems and processes are in silos, it is very difficult for retail businesses to deliver a truly satisfying customer experience. Retailers need to rely not only on technology but also on processes to enable omni-channel. In the midst of this evolution, retailers cannot afford to sit back when it comes to transforming their business to omni-channel, as the technologies that were cutting-edge last year could be obsolete soon.

Instead of carrying on with ad hoc systems and processes, retailers need to adopt a holistic approach to make their business omni-channel. Regardless of the channel used by a shopper to make a purchase, retail systems and processes should enable a smooth transaction experience. In other words, the systems and processes must be well integrated to help retailers support a channel-agnostic order and experience.

Necessarily, retailers need to develop new techniques and processes in this new omni-channel world:

  • Having a single view of the customer across all channels to be able to offer timely and relevant promotions
  • Initiating the best possible omni-channel fulfillment decision intelligently, at the moment of the sale to make maximum profit
  • Planning for and managing inventory right and ensuring it is in the right place at the right time
  • Communicating the details of multiple shipments clearly when fulfilling a single order
  • Monitoring performance when shipping from a store, just as when shipping from a centralized warehouse

Needless to say, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology that will be outdated in a year or two will be counter-productive for the business. Instead, retail owners must scale their investments and protect against obsolescence. Retailers require the ability to determine the technology that has a staying power when it comes to omni-channel, some of them being mobile POS, mobile wallet, omni-channel order management, queue busting and so on.