Small businesses are entering the online marketplace today at a faster pace than ever before, in a bid to remain active through the coronavirus crisis, among other reasons. Some businesses are finding it easier than others to take on this new sales arena. Often, the determining factor is the state of their technology. If you are among those who are looking to launch online ordering, keep in mind that integrating it with your point of sale for small retail business is one of the most crucial tasks ahead of you.
Small businesses can be particularly susceptible to workflow interruptions when integrating new technology due to a small staff or a legacy POS system that limits scalability or connectivity. You may find that stringing together a hodgepodge of systems to create a functioning POS system is an option for a while, but eventually that system will be overwhelmed by the demands of modern business practices. Adding online ordering is challenging in those circumstances. If that is the direction your business is heading in, upgrading to a cloud-based modern POS system will allow you to integrate online ordering seamlessly into your workflow and raise the efficiency of your operations all around.
How to Integrate Online Functions into Point of Sale for Small Retail Business
Online ordering works a little differently for restaurants and retailers, but many of the demands it makes are the same. Online ordering will impact:
- Payment processing—online orders have to have finalized payment before processing
- Staffing—a new workflow will be needed to accommodate shipping or pickup/delivery
- Order management—customer satisfaction has to be ensured on two fronts now
- Inventory management—the online component has to be integrated here to preserve this crucial function
- Analytics—in-store/restaurant behavior could differ significantly from online activity, and your system has to be set up to capture both
If you are using a legacy POS, you probably have only minimal, haphazard integration of these functions, making the new demands of online fulfillment difficult to meet. You need to expand your capacity without allowing chaos to break out. This means syncing up multiple systems, troubleshooting them all separately. It is likely to be a tense period for your staff, with high potential for the technical issues to spill over into customer service
You may find out that it is time to replace your entire POS system with modern cloud-based POS technology that does more than just process payments. Modern POS systems incorporate inventory, staffing, and analytical functions as a natural extension of their sales processing functions. Online sales and ordering fit into this mix as well, and it is simple to launch online services when the POS system is designed to accommodate it.
All the Things an Online Ordering System Does
When you’re looking at the next phase of your business expansion, you want an adequate solution as well as a smooth rollout. Let’s take a look at the minimal features you can expect from an online ordering system today:
- Your own branding—your website should contain your logo and be visually identifiable with your business
- Accessibility from any device—if your website is not mobile-friendly, you risk losing a significant amount of your future online business, whether you are a restaurant or a retailer
- Item display—you should be able to choose what is displayed and how
- Inventory updating—synching on-site and online inventory draws will prevent confusion
- Sales tracking—gather customer data and unify it with data already in the POS for more personalized service in the future
The integrated system for restaurants has more parts than for retailers because the restaurateur needs some additional features. First, the system has to move the order onto the kitchen display system as soon as the payment and other vital information (pickup/delivery) are confirmed. It should also reject incomplete orders, and inform the kitchen where the order moves to (the floor, pickup, delivery) once it is complete. The restaurant needs to have a mobile POS system to process curbside deliveries or for delivery drivers to close accounts on delivery.
Integrate for More Functions and a Smoother Workflow
If you are using a legacy POS system, integrating online ordering and business functions could mean writing down information from a computer screen for further processing by hand. With more and more of commerce moving online, this may be the time to update your POS. A cloud-based point of sale for small retail business can increase the efficiency of your business by improving several management functions and integrating online functions with minimal disturbance of your existing workflow.
At talech, we produce highly customizable cloud-based point of sale systems that are simple to use, scalable, and integrable. We can work with you to create a POS system that will meet the specific needs, including for integrability and scalability, and continue to support you with superior around-the-clock customer service. You can see for yourself what your new POS system could be like by scheduling a free demo today.