Now that the industry knows the necessity of all-channel retail, new technologies are emerging to help companies deliver on the omni-shopping demand, and offering up ways to keep inventory in check.
Though 60 percent of retailers surveyed by Retail Systems Research said inventory insight was key to omnichannel, 40 percent still counted coordinating in-store and e-commerce operations a challenge.
Lightspeed POS, a leading point of sales system for retailers, said Wednesday that it has the answer to in-store to online integration for small and medium-sized business in North America.
Its new e-commerce platform, aptly named eCom, lets brick-and-mortar retailers launch an online store easily and automatically sync inventory, sales and customer data—even transfer inventory between channels.
“Retailers want the freedom to sell across all channels, whether in-store, online or mobile. No matter the platform, it’s all part of one continuous experience with a brand,” Lightspeed chief revenue officer JP Chauvet, said. “With this new platform and integration, we’re giving retailers a way to easily manage their online and in-store business, offer customers a seamless shopping experience, and sell smarter.”
With the new system, which works seamlessly with Lightspeed’s cloud-based POS, users can create an online store, add products and details, plus photos from their POS platform to eCom and have what the company calls “a unified view of all inventory.”
Telling a consumer a product isn’t actually available when it should be, or when they expect it to be, because of an inventory mix-up doesn’t fly with today’s demanding shoppers, so accurate inventory knowledge holds great weight for omnichannel retailers.
Web orders with eCom are fulfilled from a single inventory pool, so retailers know right away when a shopper places an order online. Those e-sales are then downloaded to the POS system so all brick and click sales data can be checked at a single glance.
Beyond keeping tabs on inventory, eCom comes with SEO optimization, blogging and social media integration—key tools for increasing organic traffic. Site designs can be customized to suit the user and are responsive in order to adjust to any mobile device.
The platform also supports multinational and multicurrency users. It can configure delivery methods and zones, and shipping costs for international orders will be calculated automatically.
Chauvet told Venture Beat that retail has three personas today: those with brick and no click, those with click that doesn’t integrate with their brick, and those that have both but are doing a lot of legwork to keep the process working seamlessly.
Lightspeed wants to be the fourth persona, making integrated brick and click retail easier for more companies simply by taking complexity out of the equation.
“Shoppers are increasingly moving between in-store and online (on various devices) as they shop,” Chauvet told Venture Beat. “To keep up, retailers should be able to seamlessly manage their selling channels without a lot of extra work—no compromises.”