October 16, 2019
Consumer demands are escalating faster than ever before, requiring merchants to adopt a point of sale (POS) system that can keep up with the times.
As an eCommerce business owner, you have your hands full marketing your products, running promotions, tracking sales and managing inventory across a growing variety of channels. Whether you have existing physical stores or are considering a temporary pop-up location for the holiday season, an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system can help you manage all these aspects of your business more efficiently.
Need a hand managing your orders and inventory? Read on and learn more about EPOS and what makes it more efficient than other POS systems.
WHAT IS AN EPOS SYSTEM?
EPOS systems help businesses track inventory, sales, marketing efforts, customer loyalty and retention, and promotions. It includes a mix of EPOS hardware and software to help streamline the ordering, sales, and tracking of physical transaction processes. EPOS is especially helpful to eCommerce merchants because it can be integrated with the business’s existing website.
An effective EPOS system relies on the use of the appropriate EPOS software for your business. Your choice in software will depend on how many products your business offers, how many orders your business needs to process, how you want to track inventory, and how you choose to manage customer data.
Your needs may differ from those of other businesses, so it’s important to pick an EPOS software that is the right fit for you. The primary features of an EPOS system include:
Inventory tracking and stock control
Integration with your eCommerce website
The ability to issue promotions and discounts
Tracking of customer loyalty/recurring business
Already using a POS system? Here’s why you may want to switch to EPOS.
HOW IS EPOS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER POS SYSTEMS?
The benefits of EPOS over traditional POS systems are rather striking. From automated inventory matching to faster order tracking, switching to EPOS seems like a no-brainer, especially for retail businesses.
BENEFITS OF USING EPOS VS TRADITIONAL POS
EPOS is different from traditional POS systems in physical retail locations as they offer:
Automatic Inventory Tracking - EPOS will adjust inventory numbers every time you make a sale, receive stock, or issue a return.
Mobility - You and your team can access your EPOS system from any tablet or smartphone, allowing them the flexibility to process orders no matter where they are.
Faster Sales Tracking - Track orders by the hour with EPOS to stay on top of stock and prepare for when your business gets busy.
Customer Loyalty Management - Grow customer relationships with better customer transaction data by tracking customer interactions and enabling you to implement reward and loyalty programs for repeat purchases.
HOW DO EPOS SYSTEMS WORK?
EPOS systems consist of computer hardware and software configured to process a wide variety of transactions and data points. For physical businesses (and businesses holding their own stock), this hardware can include peripherals such as barcode scanners, cash drawers, receipt printers, and more.
EPOS can also support data entry from a variety of devices, allowing you and your team to process product details, track orders, and measure sales all from one system or dashboard. Best of all, it can be configured to work with the existing features on your eCommerce website.
BENEFITS OF INTEGRATING EPOS SYSTEM WITH ECOMMERCE OPERATIONS
As more and more pure-play merchants and branded manufacturers open brick and mortar locations to engage directly with consumers, it’s critical that the point at which employees physically process customer payments for goods or services rendered is integrated and synced with all other business operations.
Benefits for Your Business:
Ensures consistent pricing on your website and other channels
Speeds up order processing
Manages all sales channels in one centralized dashboard
Tracks business performance and generates accurate progress reports
Auto-updates inventory numbers to avoid understocking or overstocking issues
Reduces the chance of manual errors
Prepares for peak times and makes accurate inventory forecasts
Benefits for Your Customers:
Speeds up transactions and order processing
Issues discounts, promotions, and custom offers to customers
Ensures product pricing and detail accuracy across platforms
Issues refunds and process returns in a timely manner
Creates a better online shopping experience
Accepts multiple payment types and shipping methods
Tracks recurring business and customer loyalty
ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES OF USING AN EPOS SYSTEM?
The advantages of switching from a traditional POS system to an EPOS system are hard to beat. This being said, the one disadvantage is their high cost. Due to all of the integrations and customizations of your EPOS system, it can be more expensive option than other POS systems.
“Prices for a basic EPOS system start at around [$1,300]. An industry-specific system, with extensive back office features, comes in closer to [$1,900]. For an advanced system, with multiple terminals, it’s not uncommon to pay in excess of [$4,000]” – Magestore
Ultimately, the total price of your EPOS system will depend on what features you want and need for your eCommerce business.
5 TIPS FOR USING EPOS TO TRACK SALES AND INVENTORY
Ready to make the switch over to EPOS for your eCommerce website?
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your EPOS system and track sales and inventory more efficiently.
1. Choose the Right EPOS Software for Your Business
There is no one-size-fits-all EPOS software for eCommerce businesses. You’ll need to research the closest fit for your business needs and customize the rest. Dedicated research is the best way to find an EPOS system that fully integrates with your website and existing systems.
Some questions to ask when choosing EPOS software are:
How many orders do I process, or expect to process, in a given timeframe?
How do customers place orders on my website? What features of this process are essential?
Do I want to be able to run promotions and offer discounts across platforms?
How do I plan on tracking my inventory? How can I avoid understocking and overstocking?
What metrics (sales, conversions, customer satisfaction, etc.) do I want to track?
Do I plan on accessing my EPOS system by device or location?
What is by budget for EPOS software, hardware, and customizations?
How do I need my EPOS software to integrate with my eCommerce website?
Your goal is to standardize your order processing and inventory tracking to help you work more efficiently. As before, it’s worth spending time researching your options. Fortunately, most EPOS software providers will be able to help with customization to create a perfect system suited to your business needs.
2. Consider Scalability and Plan for the Future
One of the top reasons to switch from your traditional POS system to EPOS is in preparation for business growth.
As your business grows, acquires more inventory, and processes more sales, your capacity for managing everything becomes limited by a standard POS. An EPOS system allows you to automate as much of these processes as possible, in a fast, accurate manner.
EPOS pulls in the data automatically, matching your inventory, notifying you of any issues, and tracking the progress of your business. While it’s essentially hands-off, you can access your system from anywhere, which gives you and your staff even more operational flexibility.
Even if your business is steady right now, it doesn’t hurt to plan for the future. An EPOS system ensures you are ready to handle an influx of new orders with ease.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Business from Any Device
EPOS makes it easy to manage all of your processes from one centralized system. You can see what’s going on with sales, inventory, and more from any device as long as you have internet access. What does this mean for your business? It means you’re better prepared to avoid common mishaps like out-of-stock errors and cancelled orders.
4. Improve Customer Loyalty by Creating a Better User Experience
Your customers want things to be FAST. They want to find the information they’re looking for, place their order, and get their items delivered as quickly as possible. With an EPOS system, not only do you save time managing the sales portion of your business, but you create a better experience for users as well.
This can be done a variety of ways:
Stay on top of inventory to avoid out-of-stock issues
Match inventory to orders to ensure faster processing
Ensure accurate pricing on your website so users know what they’re paying
Track recurring business to target repeat customers with relevant merchandise.
Issue custom promotions and discounts your customers will love
Issue refunds and process returns quickly to keep customers happy
When you automate the systems in your business, you save time managing menial tasks and more time focusing on what matters most in your business – keeping customers happy.
A better user experience increases your chances of positive reviews and repeat business. You’ll also build customer loyalty and brand recognition, expanding your business scope over time. Even better, your EPOS system will be there with you as you grow.
5. Make Accurate Inventory Forecasts
Our final tip is to use your EPOS system to make accurate inventory forecasts. You can examine past trends to identify your “busy seasons” and plan accordingly. This ensures when peak season comes around, you’ll be prepared. You’ll also know to avoid holding excess stock during the slow times, saving you money and granting flexibility to focus on marketing efforts.
Your EPOS system can be fully integrated to track when stock is low, how many orders have gone out, and your overall business growth.
Is using an EPOS system right for you? In short, it depends on your eCommerce business needs and goals. If you want to increase the efficiency in your business, avoid common order mishaps, and provide a better experience for your customers, an EPOS may be the right fit for you.
It’s important to research your EPOS software options and customize your system as needed. You can then track sales and manage inventory all in one place from any device. This not only saves you time, it helps prepare you for future business growth.
For more tips on inventory management, check out this post: 10 Money-Saving Inventory Management Techniques for eCommerce