Modern POS systems are packed with great features that help retailers sell products more easily. While cloud-based features have gotten closer to older point-of-sale systems, many basic cloud POS today still can’t handle selling in fractional quantities.
This is a feature that many cloud POS systems don’t build into their core features, leaving it to others to build add-on plugins. While it’s great to have extra options through plugins, these extra costs can really add-up. At the same time, when something doesn’t work, it’s hard to know which software caused the issue.
For this reason, more retailers are looking to use all-in-one cloud POS systems with built-in core functions such as selling in fractional quantities,
What are fractional quantities?
Fractional quantities (or decimal quantities) are used by retailers that sell products that are sold in different amounts to each customer. For example, if you sell cheese by weight or DIY fabric by length. Products like this are sold in bulk, not pre-packaged. The final weight or length needed is only known when a shopper is buying in-store or online. As such, the price of these products are set to a unit of measure (e.g. $ per lb or foot) and the final selling price is only calculated during checkout.
What kind of products are best for fractional quantities?
Here are some examples of products that require fractional quantities:
Bread and bakery products
Meat, seafood, or produce
Ingredients such as spices, flour, sugar, oils, etc.
Raw materials for construction, assembly or production
Supplements, beauty supplies or candy
Landscaping or garden materials
Fabric or stationary sold by size
Any item sold in bulk
Services that are charged by the hour
and many more
How do I sell fractional quantities?
If you need to sell in fractional quantities, you will need to make sure that your POS system supports inventory quantities and sell prices to the decimal place required.
Besides being able to handle fractional quantities (e.g. 0.75 lbs) and prices (e.g. $2.765), if you sell high value bulk products, you need to be able to sell in smaller units for accuracy. For example, if you sell expensive products such as gold or saffron. With these, it is common to sell to the 4th decimal (e.g. 2.7683 grams of gold) as very small quantities can cost a lot.
While selling in bulk is a common retail feature, many basic cloud systems don’t handle it to the required decimal and will automatically apply rounding. This is where modern cloud systems such as TAKU come in. They are designed to allow retailers to accurately set prices and track stock quantities so that they can make more money.
Many people think that shipping out an order is the same as ‘fulfilling it’. In reality fulfilling an order means much more than shipping a package out. In retail, the term “fulfillment” refers to everything a retailer does from the moment a customer places an order. While many think that order fulfillment means shipping out online order from a warehouse (this is likely because of Amazon fulfillments centers), this is actually only one of many ways to get orders to a customer.
For example, retailers with existing physical stores can also fulfill online sales by packing online orders for in-store pickup. In comparison, in-store pickup is generally a lot cheaper than shipping online orders out from a warehouse as you don’t need to pay for packing materials or shipping fees.
What is order fulfillment?
As we’ve mentioned – fulfilling orders includes the process of receiving an order then getting it to the customer. It can also include supply chain tasks such as inventory management, quality control and customer support as part of order fulfillment.
The term “order fulfillment” tends to sound complex and seems only suitable for very large businesses. In reality, fulfillment is something businesses have been doing for decades now. In the past, customers often made orders through phone calls, fax machines, or even coming into the store. Stores would prepare these orders for pickup or ship out. In other words, stores had to “fulfill” these orders.
The difference today is that most order fulfillment is for ecommerce and that most retailers have a catalog of their products online because shoppers expect to be able to see what products a store carries. This is why it is so important to have an online catalog that shows off all your merchandise. While an online store is great, having any product showcase (e.g. Google’s free See What’s In Store feature) helps nearby stores be found online. And a modern omnichannel retail system makes it easy and fast to display POS products online in a few clicks.
While there are many different steps in order fulfillment, the main ones are:
Purchasing goods from suppliers
Receiving goods that are purchased
Storing purchased goods until they are sold
Picking and packing goods when they are sold
Getting goods to customers
Most physical stores are familiar with steps 1 to 4. However, since the pandemic, the way many brick & mortar retailers are handling step 5 has changed. While merchants relied a lot on shippers and last-mile delivery services (e.g. DoorDash) in the beginning of the pandemic, as the cost of packaging materials and fuel surcharges has increased, more physical stores are looking at in-store fulfillment options today. For example, with BOPIS orders (buy online pickup in-store), ‘shipping out’ is replaced with customer self-pickup or in-store fulfillment.
The benefits of in-store fulfillment
Some of the perks of in-store fulfillment are:
It helps you compete with bigger ecommerce companies as you can give your local audience a custom and personalized experience during pickup
It’s faster for nearby shoppers to get their orders
It helps you get rid of shipping costs to send products out or return products
It helps you make bigger sales since shoppers often buy additional items during pickup
It lowers return costs as orders picked up in store have lower return rates
Some challenges around in-store fulfillment
In-store fulfillment isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. There are some challenges you need to be aware of if you are going to be fulfilling orders from in-store. Here are some roadblocks you may face:
The need to change the store layout to make it faster for pickup shoppers
The need for better back office processes to allow for quick picking and packing once an order is received
Linking data between store POS systems and online stores
Many POS systems do not offer the tools needed to track everything you need for in-store fulfillment. Modern omnichannel POS systems such as TAKU make order fulfillment a breeze. They make it possible for you to:
Manage all of your in-store and online inventory in one place
Sell any inventory in your POS online with just a few clicks
Always know exactly how much available inventory stock you have with real-time on-hand quantity
Automatically showcase products and real-time stock availability in Google searches, Facebook Shop or Instagram Shop
These are just a couple of the benefits retail stores will gain from using a modern cloud-based system today. Click here to learn more about how TAKU can help you save money and sell more today.
Confused by some words in the retail industry? Read up on the essential retail terms and their definitions with our Retail Glossary here!
Although the word omnichannel is often used in retail, it is a term that is often misunderstood. Here is an explanation of what omnichannel means, how it works, and how it can help you increase your profits.
1. What is a retail sales channel?
Sales channels refer to every different method used by retailers to sell their products to customers. Sales channels go beyond brick & mortar stores. Other sales channels could be events, trade shows, resellers, dealers, curbside pickup, and on-the-go pickup. Additionally, sales channels can also include social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), SMS, instant messaging, and even Google Ads.
Most retailers start off selling on a single channel. This can be a physical brick and mortar store or an online only webstore. Prior to the pandemic, an increasing number of retailers have started to add new sales channels to their businesses as shoppers now expect to be able to shop and pre-shop in more than one place.
2. What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a fully-integrated retail experience for shoppers. So when omnichannel works, it means customers will have the same experience no matter which sales channel they use. A customer who buys products from a brick & mortar store should have the same experience as one who uses social media channels to buy products. This is the ideal outcome for a successful omnichannel retail business.
What many retailers aren’t as familiar with, is that retailers must use a system that can share sales, inventory, and customer information (data) across all sales channels to be able to offer omnichannel retail. This means handling all store sales and fulfillment of online orders under a single login. In particular, omnichannel systems make store-managed e-commerce such as “buy online pickup in-store” a lot more efficient.
A successful system handles data for sales, inventory and customer information across all brick & mortar stores, online storefronts, ecommerce marketplaces, mobile channels/apps (WhatsApp), and social media commerce (Facebook or Instagram Shop). You should be able to sell to your customers no matter where they shop. In the past, omnichannel systems were expensive and only available to very large retailers. However, today’s modern cloud systems have made it possible for small-to-mid-sized retailers to take advantage of the cost-savings and sales boosting benefits of omnichannel retail.
3. What is the difference between multichannel & omnichannel?
It’s important not to confuse omnichannel with multichannel, despite their similarities. Like omnichannel, multichannel refers to retailers selling to customers through different sales channels. Yet, in a multichannel setup, these channels are not integrated.
Unlike omnichannel, multichannel does not unify the customer experience. And more importantly, multichannel retail costs merchants a lot more money because they need to log into separate tools or channels to manage inventory separately, or see sales and customer history. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to lost sales and errors. It also increases the complexity of your sales and tax management. Additionally, multichannel increases the cost of managing inventory if sales are being fulfilled from the store or the same place.
4. Why is omnichannel retail important?
Omnichannel selling offers a data-driven approach to retail. As stock levels change, you will want to know the product levels in every channel. A good omnichannel system will do this automatically. This means you will never have to manually manage stockouts. A good omnichannel system will also increase sales by highlighting your best customers across all sales channels. It will focus on faster fulfill of every sale, no matter where the sale originates.
Omnichannel systems are increasingly effective at attracting people to brick & mortar locations. They do this by linking to Google to drive foot traffic to stores based on how close nearby shoppers are to available stock. This increases overall profits by increasing in-store and sales conversion rates.
The goal is a memorable and positive experience for your customers. Omnichannel can make this happen.
TAKU Retail can provide you with a comprehensive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will remove friction between channels. Because TAKU is cloud-based, it can function on any device since it’s not tied to any specific type of hardware. This enables you to use any existing web-enabled devices from desktop computers or tablets to smartphones.
TAKU can not only help you increase sales and reduce operational costs, but it can also help you get in front of shoppers before they even leave their homes. Click below to find out about other ways TAKU Retail can help you achieve a successful omnichannel system for your business.
Shoppers now expect the perk of Buy Online Pick Up In-Store to be a given. However, you need to consider the operations of your retail business before you can offer BOPIS. Without support from modern retail software, BOPIS runs the risk of decreasing customer satisfaction.
Being able to find exactly what they want at the price point they need will undoubtedly thrill shoppers. However, if the second half of the process falls short of expectations, it will drive customers to search elsewhere and put the business lower on their list of trusted retailers.
1. Accurate inventory information without extra staff
Retail expert Suzanne Sears notes that more and more consumers are feeling confident about returning to in-person shopping. She says “Pent-up savings among consumers, who have greater access to products than services, are making purchases. This has created a demand for work in warehousing, shipping, supply chain, buying, stores, e-commerce, and right on through the entire operation.” This has significantly impacted the search for qualified new hires. Staffing shortages have become a widespread problem. Businesses across North America are not only struggling to find employees but also struggling to keep them around.
Reduced staff means there are fewer employees available to manually track inventory across multiple systems. Understaffed stores cannot handle these challenges, resulting in inventory accuracy as low as 70%. This means that at any given time, nearly a third of inventory stock can be inaccurate. This is especially true with high-traffic or high-inventory stores, many of which are understaffed today. In order to offer BOPIS successfully, retailers will have to invest in a system with real-time inventory across all sales channels. This will let them provide the type of inventory availability accuracy that today’s shoppers expect.
2. Automatically attract more local customers
The best omnichannel systems today will not only help retailers effectively offer Buy Online Pick Up In-Store, they will help them automatically attract more nearby shoppers. Because real-time omnichannel solutions such as TAKU are able to provide reliable, accurate inventory information and real-time stock availability, they are able to connect to local marketing tools to automatically drive more foot traffic in store.
Omnichannel systems such as TAKU help retailers manage all of their inventory across all sales channels with a single, smart product feed . The feed can then be connected to Google Merchant Center and Google My Business. This integration is a built-in feature of TAKU that automatically helps retailers can be found more easily on Google. By plugging their store inventory into a free product showcase called ‘See What’s In Store’, retailers can easily show real-time stock availability in store. Where before large retailers would need to hire agencies or staff to upload products into Google manually, modern omnichannel systems are able to do this without any data entry and stock levels update instantly as you sell in-store or online.
The retail market is increasingly competitive, retailers need proper inventory management to compete. A system that automatically updates all stock quantity info right away (no matter where or when the sale takes place) is essential. That is why retailers will need to make investments in modern inventory systems. It will allow them to ensure they have properly implemented BOPIS.
See How TAKU Can Help With Seamless BOPIS
TAKU is a single retail platform that will put you in the driver’s seat. It enables you to manage all of your in-store and online operations in a single place. Whether you have 5,000 or 100,000 SKUs, TAKU lets you quickly import customer and inventory data from your current POS, feed file, or e-commerce platform. Unlike other retail cloud platforms, TAKU is customizable and crazy fast in-store and online. With an easy-to-use design and built-in training tools, set-up is faster than many other systems. Never manage products or stock levels in different systems again.
Learn more about how TAKU works by clicking below.
BOPIS, also known as “Buy Online Pick Up In-Store,” is an important feature that today’s shoppers expect when shopping with their favorite retailers. Sometimes referred to as “Click and Collect,” Buy Online Pick Up In-Store is exactly what the name describes. Your customers shop for and purchase your products online and then pick them up in person at one of your physical locations.
Curbside Pickup is a form of Buy Online Pick Up In-Store that increased in popularity in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic restricted many retail stores from offering in-person shopping. BOPIS and online shopping continues to grow as customers find it convenient to “pre-shop.”
Buy Online Pick Up In-Store should be an essential feature for any retail business, but especially for merchants running physical stores that target local shoppers. According to an Invesp survey, a whopping 50% of people surveyed said that they decided where to shop online based on whether or not they could pick up in-store.
Here are 6 reasons why more and more shoppers are choosing to use BOPIS and why retailers need to offer the option.
1. Increase profitability with BOPIS
When customers purchase items online and pick them up at one of your retail locations, it significantly decreases the cost of fulfillment. According to John Mulligan, Target’s COO, Buy Online Pick Up In-Store purchases are 90% cheaper to fulfill than orders shipped from a warehouse.
That’s not the only way that Buy Online Pick Up In-Store reduces costs and increases profitability. It also cuts down the cost of packing materials and requires a lot less labor because the order only needs to be picked instead of being picked and packed up for ship out. As a result, there is no need to offer free shipping or cover the cost of shipping fees with Buy Online Pick Up In-Store. This will not only save you money, but it will also save your customers money.
2. Avoid shipping costs & shipping delays
Shoppers increasingly expect free shipping. But a recent study conducted by Hanover Research and LaserShip, the largest regional e-commerce parcel carrier in the U.S., reveals that shipping rates are rising faster than they have in a decade. Not only have there been general rate increases but 64% of top online retailers are struggling with an off-schedule price increase. The study indicates “nearly half (49%) of these increases are price hikes between 10% and 19% and another quarter (27%) fall between 5% and 9% increases.”
At the same time, the pandemic has significantly increased the demand for shipping, overwhelming many shipping companies. An earlier study indicated that the U.S domestic package market was on track to reach 100 million packages per day by 2026. That number is now expected to be reached in 2022, with e-commerce responsible for 86% of that growth. This greater overall demand has driven up the cost for retailers to ship out online orders that often require free or subsidized shipping, and increased delivery delays.
Besides shipping costs themselves, BOPIS is also more environmentally friendly for small to medium physical retailers that target mainly local shoppers or carry products that are costly to ship (e.g. bulky or fragile products). If you don’t have the ability to ship from a warehouse or a dark store, using a lot of single-use packaging material or shipping out products that were already shipped once to the store or already merchandised on shelves is wasteful and causes unnecessary emissions. BOPIS encourages shoppers to buy from local, nearby stores instead of having something shipped from much further away or packaged with a lot of disposable packaging materials.
3. BOPIS leads to lower rates of return
In addition, items picked up in-store result in significantly lower rates of return. This is because merchants are more likely to check purchases when they are picking up items so returns are avoided before products leave the store. And returning in store is something that the majority of shoppers want. An Inmar Intelligence survey from July 2020 found 58% would prefer to return purchases in a store.
And lowering return rates is key to ecommerce margins as it is becoming increasingly costly for retailers to handle the return process. Although some retailers do offer to cover return shipping costs, this is becoming less possible as the overall cost of shipping increases. Bloomberg reports that return costs for retailers rose 59% in 2021 and added that it now costs $33 dollars for a retailer to process the return of a $50 item. Forcing customers to mail returns adds to their frustration, making it less likely that they will want to repeat the experience. By allowing them to return items in-store, they don’t have to deal with the inconvenience and expense of mailing orders back.
Again, the shipping cost of returns is only part of the story. Oftentimes retailers will need to spend extra money to cover the cost of offering return-friendly boxes otherwise they risk the chance of receiving returned goods that are unsellable due to damage during the return trip. With e-commerce return rates almost 3x higher than with in-store shopping, this means a 3x higher chance that returned goods are unsellable at their original price. The waste of damaged goods along with 2x the amount of disposable packaging materials just adds to the true environmental cost of shipping out online orders vs. BOPIS for local retailers.
4. Reduces merchant processing costs
With so many retailers starting to sell online since the pandemic started, many merchants now know that e-commerce sales generally require higher merchant processing fees to accept payments online versus payments taken in person in store. But once you take into account that return rates can be 3x higher with online orders, this means that retailers pay significantly higher merchant processing fees in general with online orders because any fees that are paid during any sale is lost during a return. Returned sales do not refund transaction fees. Some processors even charge additional return fees. This is why it’s important to consider features such as BOPIS to reduce returns and/or even take more payments in store.
5. Increase shopper basket size
One of the biggest reasons why Buy Online Pick Up In-Store is often more profitable for retailers is that it increases the opportunity for bigger orders and for impulse buys. Research indicates that 75% of shoppers who’ve used BOPIS will make an additional purchase and 49% of shoppers go on to make additional purchases while picking up their items in store. Not only does this result in a more satisfied customer, but it also means more profit or higher margin sales for retailers with minimal effort.
Creating a separate section for BOPIS pickups means that shoppers don’t have to wait in long lines. And placing items strategically in the BOPIS section will also benefit retailers since having a positive experience makes customers more likely to purchase other items while they’re in-store. In-store retail management systems such as TAKU are great for upselling during the BOPIS pickup process as they have the ability to handle all orders and take payment for add-ons, all under a single login. So the same staff member helping a customer pull his pickup order can also accept payment from him for those extra high-margin impulse buys he wants to add.
6. Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
Buy Online Pick Up In-Store gives businesses that have both an online and brick-and-mortar presence a competitive advantage over those retailers that only offer online shopping. Customers can choose between shopping online, in–person, or a mixture of both. BOPIS allows customers to shop from anywhere at any time. They are no longer restricted to retail business hours which means they benefit from the convenience, flexibility, and faster service that BOPIS provides, especially to local shoppers.
BOPIS also gives customers visibility into which stores have a given product in stock, helping them avoid wasted trips and thus improving their overall shopping experience. Customers can get an accurate view of which items are in stock at a particular retail location, so they don’t have to waste time getting to a physical store only to find out that the item they want isn’t available.
Michael Ketzenberg, a professor of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, feels retailers should embrace and aggressively market BOPIS, stating in Harvard Business Review that “It’s more profitable than other omnichannel services and it gives retailers the opportunity to offer a small discount or other incentives to encourage customers to opt for the BOPIS option, creating a win-win for both the customer and the business.”
Want to learn how to easily integrate BOPIS into your business?
It’s important for retailers today to offer convenient ways for local shoppers to make nearby purchases. An easy way to do this is to offer reserve online for pick up in store.
While some shoppers will always look for the lowest price, many shoppers are interested in availability and quality. This is particularly true when retailers are offering fresh products with limited shelf life (e.g. butcher shops) or popular products such as the latest toy. The best way to attract more local, in-store customers is by making it easier for nearby shoppers to see what you have available in your store or what is sometimes called “online discovery.” After all, today’s shoppers expect to know where something is available before they head out the door.
By offering reserve online, pick up in store, customers are able to “pre-shop” to reserve the items they need and still pick up those impulse buys that add up to higher value receipts for retailers.
What is reserve online, pick up in store?
While more stores offer online payment today, for some retailers, it’s easier to offer online ordering with payment in store during pick up. Stores that don’t wish to take payment online, sell high-value products or need to calculate final weight (e.g. exact weight of a chicken) can still offer “online discovery” by giving customers the option to see everything they sell and reserve quantities for local pick up.
Since the pandemic started, more and more retailers are offering flexible online shopping options.
How can retail stores benefit from it?
Not only does online reservation minimize manual order taking (e.g. phone or email orders), it makes order preparation more efficient as stores can set cut-off times for order packing.
Having a booking system in place eliminates guesswork from retailers — it will create less waste as you will have a better idea of the expected demand for your products and offerings on any given day.
Lastly, reserve online, pickup in store is also beneficial for retailers who do not have the capacity or do not want to offer shipping and delivery of their products. By having customers come into stores instead, you are also able to upsell and encourage them to spend more and establish a deeper connection with the store. With the right system, you can easily help customers add extra items to their orders when they’re picking up their reserved items.
How can I offer reserve online, pick up in store?
If you’re looking to offer reserve online, pick up in store, look for retail management systems that allow you to share product information in store or online. TAKU was designed to make it easy for retailers to sell everywhere from the same store inventory all under a single login. See how it works to learn more.
Want to know more about reducing post-holiday returns?