It’s safe to say that having a point-of-sale or POS system is absolutely mandatory if you want to run a successful business. When configured properly, a good POS system can pretty much do whatever your business requires thanks to the myriad features offered by different vendors.
These days, features around stock control, reporting and analytics, and even staff management are standard for many POS solutions.
That said, while most POS vendors include such features in their own products, many providers are turning to integrations and partnerships with third-party software platforms. While this is happening for many reasons, it basically comes down to keeping things simple. It’s often easier to build an integration than to create and test new features from scratch.
The integrations you need will depend on your operation’s specific requirements and what software you already use, but if you have cloud-based solutions in your business, it’s worth checking out other apps that you can connect to the programs you’re already running. This helps you extend the capabilities of your POS system, meaning you can do more with what you have and reduce the need for any manual work.
- The best POS systems for all types of businesses
POS integrations to help improve your business
Where should you begin? The integrations below are a good place to start.
Customer communications and marketing automation
It’s absolutely critical that you stay in touch with your customers. Regularly reaching out to shoppers not only informs them about the latest products or company news, but it also helps you stay top of mind, which ultimately leads to increased traffic and conversions. But your messages have to be relevant and speak to their needs, which is where marketing automation can come in.
By implementing a system that automatically sends messages based on each shopper’s activities, you can streamline your communications and send automated targeted emails based on specific customer profiles and purchasing history.
- 9 inspiring ideas on how to use POS system customer data
In 2019, global ecommerce amounted to more than $343.15 billion, so if you’re not yet selling online, you’re missing out on a very profitable channel. If you’re already selling online and run a brick-and-mortar location, integrating your POS system with your ecommerce platform will streamline operations and make your life a whole lot easier.
For example, these integrations mean the system automatically updates any time a sale is made in-store or online, allowing you to see exactly how much inventory you actually have.
Integrations can also track general sales trends over both channels, making it easier to monitor the performance of your business. In addition, you’re able to sync your customer data, so you can view people’s purchase histories across multiple channels and see what they like to buy, which helps you create targeted marketing campaigns in the future.
Finally, a tight connection between your POS and online shopping cart enables you to provide omnichannel shopping experiences. Connecting your physical and digital channels paves the way for services like in-store pickup, ship from store, endless aisles, and more.
With today’s shoppers increasingly using multiple channels and devices to shop, having a strong and integrated presence online and offline will help you stay competitive.
- The best website builders: Wix, Squarespace, Hostgator, Weebly, and more tested
By integrating payment options, you’re syncing the systems and platforms that facilitate the payment side of things. When it comes to retail, this typically means connecting your POS system with your payment processor so that data can be transferred from one platform to the other seamlessly.
Why is this important? Because by eliminating the need to manually key in customer and credit card information at the checkout counter, you’re greatly reducing checkout times. Customers are only willing to wait five to 10 minutes in line before walking away without making the purchase, so increased efficiency is critical.
Not only that, but you’re reducing the risk of human error, and because your payments and retail technologies are working together, you can view all your sales and payment data in one place instead of different reports from different platforms. Streamlining the checkout and reconciliation process saves not only time but also money.
In order to stay in business, much less stay profitable, you have to know what your money is doing, where your money is coming and going from, and how your business is performing. When you integrate your POS with your accounting software, you no longer have to do manual bookkeeping and reconciliations, and you’ll save yourself a big headache when tax season rolls around.
These insights help with everything from inventory purchasing and hiring decisions and even your budgets for marketing, giving you more control and more visibility. These integrations also make it easier to keep track of invoices and receipts because they’re all kept in one place and can be moved between platforms with ease.
While you always want to be bringing in new customers, it pays off to take care of the ones that you already have. We’ve all heard about the Pareto Principle, which when applied to business means 80 percent of your profits come from just 20 percent of customers. Not only that, but by increasing customer retention rates by just 5 percent, you can increase profits by 25-95 percent.
To that end, a good loyalty program integration that encourages existing customers to come back is a very wise investment.
By integrating your loyalty management systems with your POS terminal, you can award points and make rewards redemption a breeze. Modern loyalty solutions also eliminate the need for physical punch cards, so you can track points, purchases, and rewards simply by using the customer’s name or phone number.
This not only makes things easier for you, it also improves the customer experience, increasing the likelihood that shoppers will return.
Whether you run a retail operation or a restaurant, inventory management is essential to your success. If you don’t have the right products, your business won’t survive. This is why it makes total sense to integrate your inventory control software and POS system. In doing so, inventory adjustments are made in real-time, letting you know when it’s time to replenish and helping you make smart purchasing decisions.
While most POS systems have built-in stock control features, inventory management integration may be required if you run a warehouse or are selling on other channels and marketplaces (e.g., ecommerce, Amazon, Etsy, etc.)
With the right POS and inventory solutions, can track stock movements across your online and offline sales channels in one central location. When something sells, the system updates your inventory channels to prevent overselling — and unsatisfied customers.
Most POS platforms have a built-in time clock function that allows employees to clock in and clock out, but third-party software gives you greater functionality to track hours, schedules, and performance. This gives you the data you need to make educated decisions about how to staff your store during the busiest and the slowest hours.
In addition, certain integrations allow you to track employee performance and sales goals to see who sells the most, and which employees are putting in the most hours. This also streamlines the onboarding process, making it simple to introduce a new employee to the schedule and system.
Moving forward with POS integrations
Even if you’re satisfied with your current POS system, the introduction of certain integrations and connecting different solutions together can take your business up to the next level. So, figure out where you could use the most help, then implement those integrations. Doing so can do wonders for your productivity and profits.