There’s no denying it: being lean, agile and smart is the name of the game when it comes to winning in today’s fiercely competitive retail space. But to be a winner, you need the optimal tools and software systems. And this requires switching to cloud-based POS software for retail to get what you need.
Granted, being in the cloud is a massive money saver. But it also opens a world of omnichannel benefits to transform and turbocharge your retail business.
What is a cloud-based retail POS system?
A cloud-based retail point-of-sale system is a web-based system that lets you process payments and store all data through the Internet. The word ‘cloud’ is a metaphor originally used by developers (the first being Ramnath K Chellappa) as being ‘out there on the Internet’.
Traditional POS systems process and store data locally, which can be fraught with problems. They take up label space and are expensive to run. And you can easily lose information if there's a power surge, natural disaster, corruption or a cyber attack.
On the other hand, cloud POS systems require no storage space and are infinitely more secure.
Here are 10 ways that a cloud-based point of sale system can give you the power and agility you need to transform your retail business.
1. Centralised customer sales & inventory info into one database
Providing you choose an advanced cloud-based point of sale system like Retail Express (and not an inferior alternative) you'll have a centralised view of your entire retail business. You'll have visibility of all sales customers and inventory in a single, central cloud database. This centralised view will allow you to:
- Eliminate time-sapping data polling issues, data corruption and delays, so you’ll save a stack of valuable time
- Provide accurate, real-time information — allowing for better communication, more sales and smarter decisions
- Say goodbye to dramas around double selling, underselling (both due to a lack of visibility), inventory errors, human error and hours of data entry and complex calculations
- Ensure there is only 'one version of the truth' so (yet again) you can make accurate and faster business decisions
2. Remote access anywhere, 24/7
This is a vital feature. Operate in the cloud, and you can access critical information from anywhere in the world, 24/7. And the convenience is second to none. You can make faster, more insightful business decisions with access to sales, individual sales channel performance, warehouse activity, customers and staff — and benefit from clear, actionable reports.
Improve business processes, save valuable time, increase profits and enjoy the agility and security of a cloud-based policy system. It’s easy, fast and scalable.
3. Supply chain visibility makes purchasing replenishment easy
Whether you're a single store or multi-store retailer, purchasing, replenishment and supply chain visibility is drastically improved through cloud technology. You can even manage your stock and supply chain from home. With a clear overview of all channels, warehouses, inventory and supply chain, you can order the right products for the right store at the right time. What's more, you can choose to automate some of this ordering with smart, agile functions like automated stock replenishment.
4. Set up a new store or channel effortlessly
Expanding your retail business is easier — and less expensive — with an agile, cloud-based system. When all systems talk to each other through one centralised set of data, you can quickly open new stores, kiosks, pop-up shops and trade events within minutes. All your retail business data will be instantly accessible through your web browser.
With everything in the cloud, there's no need to find space for on-premise servers or install fancy software. And there's no need to call the IT department.
Here’s an example: suppose you wanted to quickly open a pop-up store to test the market in that location. As soon as you have an Internet connection, you can set up a new profile. You’ll immediately have access to all inventory, products, pricing, and customer profiles. It's all there at your fingertips. No further action required.
With Retail Express, you also have the option to work off-line. So, for example, if a nasty storm brings the Internet to a halt, you can keep selling to customers. As soon as you're back online, everything will be automatically updated. Simple.
5. Improve customer experiences with omnichannel
When all data from bricks and clicks can combine, your retail business can fully embrace omnichannel functionality. With a slick, streamlined system, you can offer the kind of memorable, tell-your-friends-about-it customer service that will give you an outstanding brand reputation.
- Customer profiles: Customers or staff members can easily access a customer's profile and see their order history, contact details and personal preferences. Staff can easily add new customers to the mailing list or loyalty rewards programs.
- Live stock available in store and Click & Collect: By displaying live stock levels available in store, you can offer Click & Collect, giving customers the freedom and privacy to shop online, then choose the nearest available store to collect the goods.
- Decentralised fulfilment: Centralised data means you can decentralise fulfilment. This means instead of shipping everything from one central location, you can now locate the nearest channel to your customer to ship the goods. This allows the customer to get the goods delivered faster – at a lower price.
- Easy returns: With all channels talking to each other, customers can return goods however they please — in-store or by mail. Making returns easy for customers is essential to help increase sales. 92% of consumers will buy again if the returns process is easy, according to conversion rate specialists Invesp. And 18% of those surveyed by Australia Post said their main barrier to shopping more online was being too much effort to return the product. So make your returns processes easier, and profits will likely improve.
- Automatic stock transfers: Keep the right amount of stock available where needed through automatic stock transfers, and you'll avoid frustration, please customers and sell more.
- Personalised marketing: Now that you have data seamlessly collected from all channels, you can personalise your marketing campaigns to customers, segmenting your audience and targeting them based on preferences, order history, location and much more. You’ll improve customer experience, increase sales and by creating enticing offers, you can even increase foot traffic.
6. Cloud POS gives maximum security & reliability
Data security and reliability are both colossal benefits of web-based POS. Traditional systems leave your data on servers within your premises — making it easily accessible for malicious activity by disgruntled staff or external hackers. Cloud-based systems are far more secure than on-premise server-based systems. By leveraging off cloud providers, you take advantage of their incredibly high compliance standards, heavy investments in firewalls and security systems.
For example, Retail Express operates off Microsoft Azure's enterprise-grade infrastructure based in Australia. With a 1B + USD investment in security, R&D and over 3,500 cyber security experts, Microsoft Azure is a highly trusted, multilayered security system you can trust. You'll be assured 99.9% network uptime, so you'll never suffer the frustration of disruptive outages again.
7. Fulfilment and logistics streamlined
Fulfilment, warehouse and logistic processes can be streamlined far more efficiently via cloud technology. You'll drastically reduce operational costs, save manual and admin hours, reduce wages and minimise logistics issues such as transfer and delivery times.
Minimise admin time & IT costs
Look forward to slashing loads of admin time now that a cloud-based point of sale system centralises data and automates processes. There's no manual data entry, late nights trying to analyse data in old-fashioned Excel spreadsheets — or wasting time troubleshooting.
What’s more, Internet-based POS is a game-changer for IT costs. In the past, retail businesses were forced to pay a fortune on expensive server installations and maintenance. They had to factor in considerable time and money for troubleshooting, downtime and upgrades.
Move to the cloud, however, and you never need to go down that road — even when your business grows.
Sell more & increase profits
Cloud-based software gives you complete visibility of inventory and products. So you’ll avoid double selling what’s not available or underselling what is available (but not visible).
Automated reordering will give you just the right amount of products at the right channels to maximise your sales. And actionable reports will display your best and worst performers, helping you with product planning and reordering.
A complete view of costs will make it easy to check appropriate margins to keep profits healthy. And data from personalised marketing promotes the right products in front of the right customers to sell more.
FAQ on cloud POS Systems in retail
Q: What is the meaning of POS?
POS is short for point of sale, the location where a customer pays for goods or services. A retail POS transaction can occur online or in person.
Q: What is web-based POS software?
Web-based POS software (aka Internet-based POS software) is another name for cloud-based software. It's a point of sale system that lets you process payments through the Internet. With web-based POS software, you don't need to invest in any expensive software or run into problems constantly updating clunky, outdated software.
Q: What is a traditional POS?
Traditional point of sale (POS) systems, also known as legacy systems, run on close networks and hold their data on a local computer or server. Traditional POS systems don't require the Internet and asset to a fixed location to manage the sales within a particular store.
Q: How is cloud point of sale different from traditional POS?
Cloud point-of-sale software is different from traditional, legacy POS software because it is stored online and accessed through a server. On the other hand, traditional POS software runs on closed networks, and all data is stored on local servers.
Q: How does cloud-based POS work?
Cloud-based POS or point-of-sale software processes all sales online, not on your computer. With Retail Express omnichannel POS software, additional information is also stored securely on the cloud. For example, all sales, customer history, store channel information, inventory and fulfilment data are stored in the cloud.
Q: Are all POS systems cloud-based?
Not all retail POS systems are cloud-based. However, cloud-based POS systems are safer and preferable. Some retailers still manage their POS systems on legacy systems (stored on local servers). The downside with legacy systems is that they are vulnerable to crashes and consequently lose data. They are also expensive and time-consuming to maintain and are challenging to modify or update.
Next steps: find out more about cloud POS software today
Retail Express cloud-based POS software is easy-to-use, fast and scalable. Just imagine if you could:
- Have greater visibility with one centralised view of all sales and inventory data
- Expand your sales channels quickly and easily
- Save money with cloud-based software requiring minimal expense compared to clunky, expensive, high maintenance legacy systems
- Delight your customers with outstanding omnichannel customer experiences
- Be assured of watertight security and 99.9% reliability
- Have streamlined fulfilment and logistics, shaving expenses and getting goods to customers faster
- Sell more and profit more