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Why Retail Stores Need to Use Cloud POS Software Post-COVID-19

Why Retail Stores Need to Use Cloud POS Software Post-COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic – and the shift in the way consumers shop, work, and live – has drastically changed how things are done across different sectors of the economy.

And retail is no exception. Due to the pandemic, there has been a 15-30% increase in consumers who purchase online. Consumers have also increased their use of different sales methods such as contactless payment, curbside pickup, virtual consultations, and even social commerce (purchasing products through social media). According to retail experts and shopper surveys, this new behaviour is here to stay.

To survive the pandemic and meet the new expectations of shoppers today, merchants need to use modern POS technology that will allow them to quickly adapt to market changes (e.g. future lockdowns) and easily sell both in-store and online. The need for flexibility is why retailers today are increasingly relying on cloud POS technology.

What is a Cloud POS solution?

A cloud POS system is a point-of-sale solution that doesn’t need to be installed anywhere. Instead of maintaining a server computer in your physical store, cloud POS companies host your information on secure third-party services such as Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. This is in contrast to traditional POS systems which can only be installed and/or used on specific devices.

At first glance, having your information stored elsewhere might seem scary. But cloud-based systems have a lot of major advantages in the current shopper environment when compared to installed software. In particular, they are a lot more cost-effective and flexible. These characteristics make a huge difference during these uncertain times and are key reasons why more merchants are switching to cloud-based systems than ever before.

Our team has been supporting and building software solutions for retailers for a long-time now. Until the pandemic started, multi-location retailers were the businesses most likely to look at cloud-based POS. This makes a lot of sense since the sharing of information between different stores is much harder with traditional POS systems. But today, the pandemic has significantly increased the demand for online sales options across all sectors. This means that, to survive, even a retailer with only a single physical store needs to manage sales, customers and inventory between in-store and online sales channels.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main benefits of replacing your traditional retail POS with a cloud-based system.

The Benefits of Cloud Technology for Retailers Post-COVID-19

1. Real-time inventory management across your entire business

inventory management

As traditional shoppers are increasingly buying online for delivery or pick-up, retailers need to keep track of inventory in ever more places. This is a major headache for many retailers as online sales channels are often handled separately with traditional POS systems. But keeping track of inventory history and stock levels everywhere you sell is critical as stock-outs mean upset customers and lost sales.

A lot of traditional POS solutions have “cloud” options but many of these are clunky, remote workarounds that don’t sync inventory across storefronts in real-time, often break down or require expensive third-party tools and technical support to fix.

With demand levels fluctuating throughout the pandemic, managing inventory using traditional systems that are separate or sync on a timer can be a serious drain on resources and finances. And the pandemic has made it even harder for merchants to afford the staff necessary to manually manage inventory or check stock levels because the numbers in the system can’t be relied upon.

With a modern cloud-based retail POS platform, today’s retailers have the ability to do all of the following within a single software:

  • share the same products across all locations and digital channels
  • split the same product stock quantities by store, website or warehouse
  • easily create new stores or stock splits to re-allocate inventory at any time
  • give staff the ability to check all locations for real-time product availability
  • control exactly how much access staff have to see costs and inventory details
  • fulfill sales across all channels quickly for delivery or pickup with ease
  • buy online, pay in-store during pickup
  • handle buy online, return in-store
  • minimize stock-outs because you can quickly adjust purchasing or move stock quantities around as sales happen, not after the fact

2. Flexibility to work from anywhere, on any device

Work anywhere with a smart cloud POS

A cloud-based retail system provides greater mobility which basically means that retailers can sell from anywhere inside the store, outside the store or online 24/7. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that retailers need this kind of flexibility in their business. During the recent lockdowns, retailers with access to their POS systems from anywhere were able to immediately work from home or take payments outside of their stores to offer curbside pickup. 

Modern systems such as TAKU Retail can function on any device which makes it even more cost-effective for retailers to adopt. True cloud systems are not tied to any specific device. Where earlier cloud systems are limited to only a single type of hardware (e.g. iPads), the latest cloud POS systems allow retailers to use any existing web-enabled devices (e.g. Windows or Mac computers, Android or Apple smart devices) together. This type of flexibility helps merchants reduce the overall cost of hardware, even as they grow, since almost any existing device can be turned into a station.

And accessibility doesn’t refer only to selling or accessing reports. While older installed or cloud systems only give retailers access to specific functions, true cloud systems give you full access to all of the features in the software so you can run your business from anywhere. Accessibility also includes managing access rights all from one dashboard. If you’re a larger retailer, you should be able to quickly manage (or revise) the access rights for each staff member across all devices wherever you happen to be working.

3. Manage shoppers from every channel in one dashboard

unified POS

While the Coronavirus pandemic will pass, changes in consumer shopping habits are here to stay. Retail consumers are now shopping locally, cost-consciously, and digitally. Being there for your customers wherever they are is often called “omnichannel” retail or “unified commerce”. And shoppers that are using multiple sales channels are likely to continue to do so.

What’s important to remember is that being omnichannel is about more than simply taking sales in all channels. It’s about providing a consistent experience for shoppers across all touchpoints. It means making it easier for shoppers to find you, buy from you or even bring something back to you. There’s no doubt that taking orders online is important to the survival of a lot of retailers during the pandemic. Similar to the value behind impulse buying in-store, the average order size of omnichannel customers are often higher because you have more opportunities to engage with your shoppers across different channels.

Another thing to keep in mind is that online sales naturally come with higher return rates as shoppers make mistakes or shipments are damaged. Being able to manage all of your sales and returns across all channels in one place is important to minimize returns and to minimize the costs of these returns – e.g. by offering in-store returns or exchanges to avoid losing sales or paying double the processing fees.

4. A POS that grows with you 

retail store growth

Many retailers experienced significant growth in online sales and curbside pickup during the pandemic. In fact, in some essential sectors, traditional stores were unable to keep up with the demand as they struggled to handle the sudden boost in traffic. 

As your business grows and becomes more complex, your retail management system must be able to accommodate new stores, new sales channels, new employees, and new product lines without any limitations. A flexible unified commerce system will have the built-in options required for you to adapt as your business grows. This includes functions such as unlimited physical stores, unlimited back office users, unlimited stock quantity allocations and customizable tax rules. With customizable settings, fast onboarding support and transparent pricing, modern cloud systems offer retail owners a flexible tailored solution that can easily scale without hidden costs.

5. The only way to leverage consolidated retail data to sell more

consolidated retail data

With shopping behaviour shifting constantly throughout the pandemic, being able to track, manage, and engage with customers across all channels is key for long-term success. An all-in-one retail sales system such as TAKU Retail allows you to handle all of your touchpoints from in-store shopping and curbside pickup to local delivery, all in one platform. It allows retailers to be flexible with their business processes and adapt quickly when the environment changes.

With traditional systems, data is isolated between the different sales channels. In comparison, cloud-based systems give merchants access to consolidated retail data which makes it significantly easier for them to see trends as they happen in real-time.

Built with next-generation technology, modern cloud platforms are even able to help retailers leverage their own retail data to attract more shoppers. As the first POS company to be a Trusted Google Partner, TAKU is the first platform in the industry to automatically help retailers be found online by people searching nearby for what they sell. And so, not only can cloud POS systems increase sales when shoppers are engaged, they can now help retailers get in front of shoppers before they even leave their homes.

Make sure you’re using retail technology that can keep up with the rapidly changing market. Make the switch to cloud today – it’s easier than you think. Whether you prefer to set up everything yourself or would like to work with migration experts, leading cloud systems today have modern tools to make data migration and training faster than ever. 


We hope you found this article helpful!

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How to Successfully Manage Multi-Store Retail Operations

How to Successfully Manage Multi-Store Retail Operations

Going from a single retail store to a multi-location operation comes with different business challenges. But, at the same time, it also comes with greater opportunities to reach more shoppers and grow your sales.

In fact, with the right technology and processes in place, managing several retail stores is a great way to start leveraging the benefits of scale.

In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of the steps you should take to ensure a smooth transition from a single store to a multi-store operation.

multi-store operations

Tips for managing multi-store operations

1) Run your retail operations in the cloud

Managing several retail stores at the same time requires more efficiency and flexibility in running your business. In particular, it requires a retail POS system designed for multi-store management. This is where new cloud POS technology comes in. 

Because cloud software isn’t tied to a specific device, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access your POS and the data you need to run your business from anywhere.  Whether you’re in store, on the go, at home, or even on vacation, checking in on your stores is as easy as logging in to your POS system from an internet browser.

Cloud retail POS technology also gives you access to centralized, real-time data across all of your retail locations. So important information such as stock levels, sales history, and customer information are always up-to-date. After all, in today’s competitive retail environment, shoppers expect stores to be able to access real-time stock levels across all locations.

Accurate data leads to less stock-outs and lost sales and ultimately, happier employees and customers.

2) Minimize staff turnover risks and simplify employee training with technology

You obviously can’t manage multiple store locations by yourself. So, it’s important to hire competent staff members that you can trust to take charge of different store operations while you are away.

But even if you hire the right people, the fact is, how you manage staff is just as important as who you hire. This is especially true once you have multiple locations.

It’s important for you to be able to trust your managers (and a great manager can make all the difference in a store’s performance), but unless your staff are tied to your business, there is always a chance that an employee will quit. And you need to be prepared for that day.

There are so many examples of companies that have over-relied on one or a few individuals that there is even a term for this: “Key-Person Dependency Risk“. This is a particularly big issue for small-to-medium businesses that often don’t have the resources for back-up personnel or even cross-training of staff.

This is where technology has been able to add real value in terms of minimizing the risk of over-reliance while, at the same time, freeing up staff from doing boring, routine tasks.

A well-managed company is never dependent upon the performance of one or a few individuals. As well, no employee should be allowed to hoard knowledge, relationships, or resources to achieve job security.

https://www.rightattitudes.com/2018/09/07/key-person-dependency-risk/

This is why it is crucial to consider the built-in security controls and training tools already in place when choosing a retail POS system. Almost everything in a modern retail business flows through a retail point-of-sale system. As such, your ability to manage the knowledge (e.g. reports, costing, margins, etc.) in your business greatly depends on:

  1. Your ability to track the actions and performance of your staff with your retail POS.
  2. Your ability to easily train new staff in different roles whenever there is turnover.

If you’ve worked in retail long enough to expand to multiple locations, you know the importance of POS and how costly it can be to manage and train staff to use a new point-of-sale system.

For retailers who deal with peak periods, long lineups, or high employee turnover rates, it is essential for merchants to consider the real cost of both onboarding and training over time. Because unless you never expect to lose any staff, you will always be re-training some employees.

While you may be tempted to choose the cheapest POS software option or the one with the simplest design, we always ask our customers to take a good look at the type of security and access controls they will have right from the beginning. It is very difficult to control the data of a retail business outside of the POS system and too costly (assuming it is even possible) to get custom features added to a standard system used by many other merchants.

It’s why we put so much time into the design of the access rights and training tools within our own POS. After all, while we design our software for user-friendliness, clean design cannot be simple to the point where it lacks real functionality. And in modern cloud-based POS, it’s possible for even feature-rich systems to be easy-to-use with properly designed UX and practical tools such as built-in product tutorials.

3) Implement standard operating procedures across all of your retail locations

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) ensure that business operations are consistent and predictable across all of your retail locations. Put simply, SOPs make managing a multi-store business easier – and they give your customers a consistent shopping experience. 

Standard procedures that should be established at each store include product returns and discounts, order policies, store, and security. Similar to access rights, the easiest and most common place to manage SOPs is through your POS system. So make sure to check if the POS system you’re considering has options to manage returns, discounts, cashouts, sales policies, etc.

4) Choose a retail POS that can scale with you

Many retailers make the mistake of investing in a new POS without thinking about business growth. There are many retail POS providers that restrict the number of users, inventory items or stores that can be added. Meaning that once your retail operations grow beyond a certain level, you must invest a considerable amount of money to upgrade your POS plan or switch to a new POS altogether. 

That’s why it’s important to choose a retail POS system that can scale with you and is built for multi-store operations! Look out for the following features when selecting a retail POS software for a growing business: 

  • unlimited stores, selling zones, and stock allocations 
  • the ability to scale faster by cloning settings for new stores
  • automated tax calculations based on geographical location 
  • multi-currency and multi-language settings
  • the ability to handle high transaction and inventory volume (this is especially important for high traffic retailers) 
  • built-in training resources for faster onboarding
multi-store management

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#multi-store #multi-location #retail #retailpointofsale #builtforretail

Multi-platform: Retail POS for any device

Multi-platform: Retail POS for any device

Nowadays, retail store owners need the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime. In fact, you should be able to easily turn any web-enabled device into a POS station. With the introduction of multi-platform point-of-sale software, retailers now have the ability to do just that.

Keep reading to learn what a multi-platform retail point-of-sale system is and how you can sell anywhere, on any device.

What is a Multi-Platform POS Software?

Multi-platform point-of-sale is a type of software that works on any web-enabled device, regardless of the operating system. This means a software that works on your desktop, tablet or mobile phone, even if they are a mix of Windows, iOS, Mac OS or Android devices.

multi-platform

Benefits of Multi-Platform POS Software

  • Cost savings, re-use existing hardware: If you are looking for a retail point-of-sale system with a low upfront cost, investing in a multi-platform point-of-sale system is the way to go. Because it can work on any web-enabled device, you don’t have to spend time or money replacing your existing hardware.
  • Sell more with mobile POS: With the ability to sell on mobile, tablet or desktop devices, virtually any place inside of your store can be turned into a checkout point. And because multi-platform POS systems can be used on existing devices, it’s faster and cheaper to set-up temporary checkout points during high traffic and rush hours to prevent long line-ups.
  • Continue selling even when your internet goes down: Nowadays, credit and debit payments are the most popular payment methods. While some POS systems offer offline capability, because modern PINpads cannot work without an internet connection, even if you can use your POS, you will still lose sales as few shoppers carry cash today. The future of retail POS is multi-platform as merchants now need to have the ability to switch devices seamlessly. With the TAKU platform, it’s as easy as signing in to your POS on a mobile device with data to continue ringing in sales.
  • Improve customer experience: Employees can serve customers and process transactions from anywhere in the store resulting in shorter lines and better customer service.
  • Scale cost-effectively, faster: Multi-platform POS systems allow you to scale easily. As any web-enabled device can be turned into a station, growing your retail business is easy and inexpensive. 
  • Sell wherever your customer is: Multi-platform POS is ideal for merchants who operate on different sales channels. Easily sell in-store, on-the-go or online. Don’t miss any sales opportunities.

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#crossplatform #pointofsale #retailpointofsale #cloudpointofsale