Omni-Channel Transformation

Historically, when retailers thought of point-of-sale systems, they looked for transactional functionality that could accommodate different methods of payment and promotional adjustments. They were a means to an end and the last point of customer engagement. Today, however, the POS system is the hub of providing customer service and building strong consumer loyalty. The POS has become the source of data, the filter for privacy, the access to shopper behaviors and a workflow and inventory facilitator. 

So, what’s changed?

From the shoe box to the cash register to mobile POS, to touchscreens and tap processing, POS systems have evolved with the shopper and the shopping experience.  Through omni-shopping, BOPIS services and real time gratification, shoppers have ushered in a more flexible framework requirement for stores and brands in general.  The new Point-of-Sale system needs to be robust, flexible and scalable and retailers benefit from seeking the guidance and expertise of seasoned retail systems professionals to evaluate their current operating state, vet appropriate providers and partner to implement solutions that not only solve the retail challenges of today, but accommodate the evolving retail universe of tomorrow.

Key benefits retailers should look for:

  1. Inventory visibility across channels
  2. Customer data capture providing one view of the customer 
  3. Speed in transactional processing time
  4. Frictionless return processing and real time inventory availability
  5. Seamless customer loyalty program interface and support
  6. Omni-channel capable-mobile, desktop, brick and mortar and meta down the road
  7. Payment flexible (including new buy now pay-over-time options)
  8. Price adjustment and promotion calculation flexibility 
  9. Seamless customer loyalty program interface and support
  10. Intuitive design and ease of training management features like bank deposit capability, timekeeping and reporting
  11. Real time messaging
  12. The ability to remotely interface with process and system upgrades
  13. Tablet and remote functionality for in store pop up stations, tent sales, fashion events and marketing events 
  14. Functional automation for workflow efficiency
  15. PCI compliance

Still dealing with antiquated systems? Don’t know where to start and overwhelmed by vendors and options? You are not alone. POS frustrations are one of the top shopper annoyances and are an on-going source of systems focus for retailers. Once deemed to be a store exclusive function, POS systems have become a company-wide customer-centric mandate for brands seeking to enhance consumer engagement, provide ease of shopping/transactional interface across platforms and concepts and looking to reduce costs through speed and efficiency.

How can POS systems save money and add value?

For one, speed of transaction time allows retailers to process more orders more accurately and thus allows for more fluid shopper flow. The average wait in a queue line can be greatly reduced with more efficient systems. 

A second key value component to the equation is the customer data capture capabilities and historical and loyalty program recognition a smart POS system can provide. Primary data, especially in a cookie-less world, is a critical ingredient for stronger retention and more effective customer behavior marketing. 

The third critical added value of a modernized POS system is workflow improvement through remote integration and upgrades. On site systems that allow for store management to have visibility to inventory levels, staffing needs (through views of high and low transactional periods) and more effective buy online, pick-up in store services, empowers associates to be that much more effective in their roles and frees up their time to engage with their customers. Indeed, think of the time saved alone in physically looking for sizes in back stock when POS mobile tablets are available with on site and online options that readily locate inventory and can close the sale on the spot, without leaving the sales floor. Also, think of the savings each store could offer by minimizing/eliminating errors in promotional and discount applications. The POS system could, indeed, be viewed as a cost saving and profit-driving initiative rather than an expense.  

Enter the Metaverse.

Just when retailers figured out the web and social commerce platforms, technology came along with a virtual 3-D digital universe that promised an entirely new way to engage with each other, the world and with brands. Voice commerce, touch enabled technology, sense-triggered IOT (internet of things) accessories coupled with pay over time, tap and crypto currency are all on the near horizon for POS systems to face. Are you ready?   

We can help.

For over 20 years Columbus Consulting has been partnering with retailers to solve their challenges and drive their businesses forward. Our marketplace of senior level retail practitioners won’t just tell you what to do, they will become an extension of your team, evaluating, sourcing and implementing systems that work. We know we can help, because we have been helping our clients, over 300 global leading brands, successfully and have a 96% re-engagement record. 

We offer top talent who have held similar roles in the industry and can hit the ground running. Professionals like Lynn Hughes who brings 25+ years’ experience managing multi-million-dollar POS system selection and implementation projects. Lynn has coordinated large project teams of employees and subcontractors, and has both the operational know-how and leadership skills to facilitate large deliverables on time and on budget.  Lynn grew up in the stores and, while managing a women’s apparel store in Dallas in 1979, was introduced to the first IBM POS system on the market when her store was selected as a pilot location.  She then pivoted from store/field management to the position of POS Manager supporting the company’s rollout and upgrades to their 350 stores. Through her years of experience and engagements with various brands such as Hibbett | City Gear, JOANN Stores, Genesco, Petco, Leslie’s Pools, Phillips-Van Heusen, Lucky Brand and others, Lynn has become a leading industry POS and Store Systems expert. In addition to working with the software company that developed the first Windows-based touch screen POS system on the market, Lynn continues to drive the industry forward with innovative thinking and advanced knowledge of modern solutions that scale into the future, such as RFID scanning capabilities to assist with inventory accuracy and online order fulfillment. 

There are more where Lynn came from… Columbus Consulting has over 150 practicing consultants at your disposal to address your retail, CPG, grocery challenges across business disciplines like: unified commerce, supply chain, IT, organizational structure, merchandise, planning and allocation, inventory management, data & analysis, finance and strategy. 

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