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Winning in E-Commerce: 3 POS Integration Case Studies for True OmniChannel Retail

Specno

Assisted online homeware, data-collecting fashion and entirely cashier-less baskets – these 3 POS integration case studies showcase advanced omnichannel optimisation in retail

Are your online and offline sales connected?

To get the biggest benefit from digital in retail, integrating your Point of Sales (POS) and even inventory systems unlocks true omnichannel capabilities for better intelligence:

To see how it’s done and what the benefits are, we look at 3 POS integration case studies in retail.

First: What is POS Integration?

Traditionally, most retailers created an ERP system/account for every branch, so when digital came along, it seemed obvious to just create a separate account for your online offering – both inventory management and sales data. 

The problem with that is now your Point of Sale and inventory are fragmented, so when you want to start leveraging the benefits of omnichannel, you sit with two problems:

  1. Your online and offline customer data don’t talk to each other
  2. Running inventory in fragmented silos hinders omnichannel

For example: If you want to start creating really great experiences like if a customer walks into your store and something’s out of stock, and you want to be able to locate it at your depot, charge him for it in-store and then have it delivered to them by the time they get home, your POS and inventory needs to be integrated across all your channels, else it’s nigh on impossible.

Many traditional retailers bridge this gap with loyalty programmes where you login at POS to share that data with your online customer profile. See how to integrate your POS.

But there are some examples of retailers taking a much more native integration approach…

3 POS Integration Case Studies

Yuppiechef image via Pass The Salt.

1. Yuppiechef’s Physical Stores are Fully Integrated with Online

South African homeware retailer Yuppiechef operated through mainly e-commerce since 2006, but from 2017 onwards they opened physical stores around the country (about 20-plus at the moment).

And, like most online retailers moving into the brick-and-mortar space, they have a huge amount of localised data to leverage from, able to offer specific products on the shelf according to what they know buying patterns are in the area. (And if a customer wants something that’s not in-store, the inventory is integrated so they can just source it from the depot and have it delivered.)

The Customer Experience 

As a customer, you get the full in-person retail experience, with a range of visible stock, and sales staff to provide individual service and information as needed. And, once you’ve made your decision, you go to the cashier and they scan your products and process your purchase.

But when it gets to POS, the way it functions is completely different from a normal store.

The POS Integration

Though it seems to the customer the cashier just processes your payment like any other store, what they’re actually doing is logging in and placing your order via your online profile. 

(Sure, there are some cash-paying walk-ins they don’t have a profile for, but most customers are either already Yuppiechef clients or the cashier can just capture some data and create a profile for you on the spot – unlocking the potential that you might buy online next time.)

This means Yuppiechef’s customer data all sits in one place, and even if you buy in-store, that purchase information is still directly on your online profile. 

It allows them to use integrated inventory – whether you buy from a store in Cape Town, Johannesburg or shop online, the inventory management is all done in one place, unlocking the ability for them to conclude the sale in person, even if they don’t have an item in stock, and then just deliver it to you later.

See how to use data to boost loyalty, the benefits of inventory technology integration and how to integrate online and offline channels in retail.

Sheet Street image via the Mr Price Group.

2. Mr Price’s Collects your Email at the Pay Point

South African fashion retailer Mr Price has been delivering retail experiences since the 1980s. Having firmly established itself as a trendy and often fun, funky clothing destination for an oftentimes younger or family-orientated consumer, they’ve since diversified into sports, homeware (like it’s Sheet Street stores) and other segments with well over 2000+ outlets around the country.

Yet, customers will have noticed that from the mid-2010s onwards they’ve systematically replaced their traditional tills with interactive pay points (often touchscreens etc.). 

The Customer Experience

From the customer perspective, your experience is the same as always – you select your products, head to the pay point and they process your purchase. But, added to the process is the cashier asking you for your email address to send your invoice to.

The Integration Play

Now, specific info on the level of integration is not readily available – although they did utilise the JustEnough demand system around 2014 and more recently employed Oracle ERP – but the collection of the customer email itself is telling.

If you already have a profile with them, that email already allows them to connect you to it, and collecting emails of those who don’t have online accounts yet obviously opens avenues to communicate with you in the future (keeping it legal, of course).

The POS also seems to enable the cashier to check inventory in different locations, likely online too. 

See why you need retail tech integration.

Amazon Go image via Nick Statt/The Verge.

3. Amazon Physical Stores & New Cashierless Go

Amazon itself needs no introduction, yet, as we highlighted in our dedicated Amazon omnichannel case study, Amazon operates a number of physical store locations (similarly to Yuppiechef, where the store mirrors the online experience) and recently launched the entirely cashierless Amazon Go.

The Customer Experience

The Go stores are a rather novel concept: The store itself is locked, and the only way to enter it is by getting a specific visual code from your Amazon app. Once inside, there are literally no cashiers – you just walk in, grab what you want and walk out.

The POS Integration

The store itself is fitted with all kinds of integrated retail technology – from cameras and IoT to sensors – that tracks what products you pick and automatically charges your card as you exit the store. It’s sleek, fast and extremely automated – ideal for a person who’s looking for that quick in-and-out experience.

That level of integration allows Amazon to likely automate inventory, and replenishment, all while directly managing all purchases on the customer’s profile – adding to the data they can collect for personalisation.

Also see how to overcome the crucial delivery challenges in the competitive grocery delivery space.

Where to Start Integrating Your POS with Online Systems?

In e-commerce and especially for retailers with legacy systems, integration and ERP systems are absolutely vital to unlock omnichannel abilities. And that’s where you need highly skilled technology consultants who can help you scale software and systems, build new ones fast and effectively from the ground up and even manage advanced integrations.

A good place to start is testing out your new ideas in a structured and efficient way. In tech, we use MVPs for this - discover the ultimate MVP method for e-commerce and see it in action in these MVP examples for retail. And then learn the process with our guide on how to integrate online and offline channels in retail.

Learn How to Do a POS Integration

Is your point of sale (POS) integrated with your digital channels? Unlocking Amazon-level omnichannel capabilities allows you to use data to boost customer experiences and advanced future-first retail technologies to grow, become more profitable and secure your future success.

See here how to integrate your POS.

How do You Afford a Big Integration Project like this?

It’s absolutely vital for staying ahead in retail that you roll out your own new tech ventures almost continuously – because your competitors are. Gartner projects that almost 57% of retailers will invest more in innovative new tech in 2024 alone. But with margins under pressure, how do you pay for such a big integration project?

An answer comes from the venture building space (creating new innovation projects within or for corporates like retailers), where the retailer builds and develops a new innovation project and raises the capital to do it. I.e. they don't pay for it (or all of it) themselves.

In fact, there are more than 7 different ways to run big projects without having to pay for it upfront - see our post on all the models for venture funding in retail and how to choose a retail venture funding model.

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