Today, customers expect consistent, seamless, and convenient shopping experiences. This means that they should be able to browse, shop, and complete transactions across all the touchpoints offered by retailers without encountering any disjointed experiences when switching between channels.
In response, retailers are adopting a unified commerce approach, as the most profitable customers tend to shop across multiple channels. Nowadays, many shopping journeys begin digitally, either through a retailer's website or mobile app, and often involve or conclude in physical stores.
As a result, physical stores and Point of Sale (POS) systems play a crucial role in delivering a unified commerce experience.
Traditionally, POS systems are used to record transactions like sales and returns. However, retailers should now re-evaluate POS systems to support not only basic capabilities but also key unified commerce activities such as Buy Online Pick-Up In Store (BOPIS), Endless Aisle, Ship From Store, and Clienteling.
There are numerous POS systems in the market, but not all support unified commerce activities.
In this blog, we will outline a few essential capabilities of POS systems for delivering a unified commerce experience. We will also assess the effectiveness of Shopify POS in these areas and evaluate if it is the right choice for enterprise Shopify retailers.
Critical Capabilities of a POS System for Enterprise Shopify Retailers
As the boundaries between offline and online channels continue to blur, the importance of systems that support cross-channel customer journeys is growing. Shopify retailers should consider systems that capture customer interactions across channels and enable data sharing and flow between e-commerce and physical stores to effectively support Unified Commerce. Critical capabilities of POS systems include:
Clienteling: Customer information such as online and in-store purchase history, browsing history, loyalty status, online shopping cart, wish lists, and other data should be accessible to store associates when customers visit the stores. This is where clienteling comes into play.
With Shopify POS, store associates can access customer data across e-commerce and physical stores. Shopify has a unified backend platform for both its e-commerce and POS systems, that stores comprehensive customer data across both channels. This helps enterprise Shopify retailers deliver a consistent and seamless experience to customers when they visit and interact with associates in the store.
Unified Pricing and Promotion: Shoppers expect consistent experiences across online and physical stores, especially when it comes to product pricing and promotional offers. For example, a shopper discovers a product online, and decides to purchase it after trying it out in the local store, but finds the price higher at the store. Retailers may lose a sale in this case due to the disjointed experience. Therefore, it is vital for retailers to maintain and manage consistent pricing and promotions for products across online and physical stores.
If retailers use a POS system other than Shopify POS, managing product pricing and promotions in multiple systems becomes cumbersome. Handling multiple systems increases complexity and can lead to errors. With Shopify's unified backend platform for both e-commerce and POS, retailers can set up pricing and promotions for products just once. Any changes made to product pricing will synchronize across both online and offline channels, saving time for retailers and providing a consistent experience for shoppers.
Inventory Availability and Visibility: Accurate inventory availability and visibility are essential for both customers and store associates. Customers who discover a product online want to be confident that their selected items will be available in-store for try-on or pick-up through BOPIS services. Retailers offering endless aisles must also have access to product inventory across all their stores to save lost sales for out-of-stock items. Additionally, retailers offering Buy Online Return In-Store should be able to receive returns and reintegrate the returned inventory into the e-commerce channel, especially if the returned product is not part of the store's assortment.
Although Shopify claims to offer inventory visibility across multiple stores and real-time inventory synchronization across online and physical stores, we have encountered several enterprise Shopify retailers who report that as soon as the number of stores exceeds twenty, the inventory synchronization process experiences delays, resulting in overselling or underselling of inventory.
Often, enterprise Shopify retailers want to offer same-day BOPIS from their physical stores, but prefer not to use their stores for shipping online orders to customers' locations. However, Shopify's multi-fulfillment feature does not support an either-or approach between BOPIS and Ship From Store. As soon as they allow fulfillment from a store for offering BOPIS, Shopify also starts sending online orders to the store for fulfillment.
Shopify as a platform also does not support concepts like safety stock and threshold, which are essential for calculating inventory available to promise (ATP) when selling online and offering omnichannel fulfillment strategies like BOPIS and Ship From Store.
The answer to these shortcomings?
A third-party Omnichannel Order Management System. This system has the power to provide insights into inventory availability, visibility, and synchronization issues in Shopify POS.
Let’s take a closer look:
The Benefits of Adding an Omnichannel Order Management System to Shopify POS
What is an Order Management System? Order Management System is a critical component of Unified Commerce that enables retailers to implement omnichannel fulfillment strategies like BOPIS and Ship From Store strategy.
An Omnichannel Order Management System offers several key benefits to enterprise retailers, including:
Synchronize inventory from multiple storage locations and systems like ERP, WMS, and POS
Calculate inventory ATP for each store, considering multiple factors like safety stocks and participating/non-participating stores for fulfillment
Consolidate ATP inventory from all stores and warehouses and publish it on Shopify eCommerce
Order Fulfillment Responsibilities
Capture orders from Shopify eCommerce
Identify if the order is a "pick up from store" order or a "ship to customer" order
Assign "pick-up from store" orders to stores
Find the optimal fulfillment location for "ship to customer" orders based on proximity to the customer's shipping address and inventory availability, and route those orders to stores and warehouses
Update Shopify eCommerce once the orders are picked, packed, and shipped
In addition to this, Order Management also supports various other cases like pre-orders, backorders, partial shipments, drop shipments, digital items, and order splitting.
Supplementing Shopify OMS with an Omnichannel OMS
Shopify offers basic order management capabilities that work well for brands with up to twenty stores. However, for enterprise retailers with a growing number of stores and online orders, offering omnichannel fulfillment options is not very scalable with Shopify's native order management system. Therefore, enterprise Shopify retailers who want to increase their online conversions by offering omnichannel fulfillment options like Same-day BOPIS and free 2-Day delivery while keeping shipping costs low as a percentage of sales should use a third-party Omnichannel Order Management System to scale their operations.
Creating the Best Omnichannel Strategy with the Power of HotWax Commerce
Shopify POS is a superior choice for enterprise Shopify retailers compared to other POS systems when scaling their business by implementing a unified commerce strategy. Using other POS systems would require complex integrations between the POS, Shopify eCommerce, and ERP systems, costing time and money without guaranteed results.
Shopify's common back-office platform for POS and eCommerce ensures that customer, product, pricing, and promotion data are unified across online and physical stores. The unified inventory availability and synchronization process also works well for smaller Shopify retailers. However, as businesses grow, the need for an Omnichannel Order Management System becomes apparent. This system enhances the Shopify platform and makes it one of the best technology stacks for enterprise retailers aiming to deliver a unified experience to their customers across all channels.
HotWax Commerce is a cloud-based Omnichannel Order Management System with ready integration with Shopify eCommerce and POS. By using HotWax Commerce OMS with Shopify POS, enterprise Shopify retailers can offer a unified commerce experience to their shoppers while ensuring fast order fulfillment and minimizing shipping costs.
By incorporating HotWax Commerce OMS into their operations, enterprise Shopify retailers can overcome the limitations of Shopify's native inventory management and order fulfillment capabilities. They can efficiently manage their inventory, calculate accurate ATP values, and streamline their order management processes across all sales channels.
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Additionally, HotWax Commerce OMS offers enhanced features that cater to various business scenarios such as pre-orders, backorders, partial shipments, drop shipments, digital items, and order splitting. These advanced capabilities help retailers cater to diverse customer needs, stay competitive, and adapt to the evolving retail landscape. Ready to transform your e-Commerce business? Contact us to get started!
Shopify POS and HotWax Commerce OMS provide a powerful and comprehensive solution for enterprise Shopify retailers looking to scale their businesses by implementing a unified commerce strategy. This integration allows retailers to deliver a seamless and consistent shopping experience across all channels, enhancing customer satisfaction and driving growth in today's competitive retail market.