Thanks to an increase in smartphone adoption, customer shopping behavior has changed pretty dramatically over the past decade. 87% of all shoppers start their search online, up from 71% just last year. As a result, an increasing number of retailers are adapting to an increasingly digital-savvy clientele by switching their on-premise POS systems for cloud-based iPad Retail POS systems that enable them to run their brick-and-mortar and online shops from the same interface.
While some early adopters swear by the convenience and efficiency the technology provides them, others are a little more skeptical. Let’s look at the three major benefits of an iPad Retail POS system, along with the key features to look for when you start looking for a solution that fits your business’ needs.
Enhance your customer experience
Just like what we mentioned above, consumer behaviors have changed, and so have their consumer expectations for what an ideal shopping experience should include. Most notably, expectations around customer service and the checkout process have changed.
eCommerce has encouraged consumers to habitually research products online before they ever step foot in your store. As such, when they walk through your doors, a lot of them already have an idea of what they want. With an iPad Retail POS system, you can look up whether or not you have a product in your inventory, verify your inventory levels at other multiple store locations, create special orders on the spot and offer either in-store pickup or direct shipping.
That’s the kind of convenience that customers have grown to expect. It starts with having an easy-to-browse, transactional online store that enables them to research products. It ends with having an equally convenient in-store experience.
Look no further than Glossier for an example of a company that’s reaping the rewards of focusing heavily on its customer experience in-store and online.
An iPad Retail POS system also optimizes the checkout process for both you and your customers. For starters, you no longer need to process payments from a cash register bolted to a front desk. From a store owner’s perspective, this is great because they’re effectively eliminating lineups to pay. From a shopper’s perspective, they’re saving time because they don’t need to wait in line to pay.
According to a recent study, customers will leave a store without making a purchase after waiting just eight minutes. An iPad POS system dramatically speeds up your checkout process by allowing you to ring up sales from anywhere in your store, which ultimately translates into fewer lost sales.
Open up new sales opportunities
With an on-premise POS, opening a pop-up shop or selling your merchandise at a venue other than your store (like a sidewalk sale, for instance) is difficult. But thanks to its inherent mobility and cloud-based functionalities, an iPad Retail POS makes participating in these events easier than ever before.
Unlike an on-premise POS, a mobile POS is straight-forward to install in remote locations. Just pack up your iPad, a card reader, a personal hotspot if the venue doesn’t have WiFi, and a barcode scanner (only if you need it) in your backpack. With those tools, you can accept any payment type and serve customers wherever you are.
Once the event is over, you don’t even need to worry about reconciling inventory. Each sale you process is synced in real-time to your existing inventory levels. Both setting up shop and packing up for the day isn’t time-consuming. The result is that you can participate in more events and make sales quite literally wherever you are, without adding any layers of operational complexity.
Check out how it took just 48-hours for Kanye West to set up his Amsterdam pop-up shop for his “The Life of Pablo” album merch.
Kanye West’s Amsterdam pop-up took just 48-hours and three iPads to set up.
Turn your store data into action
When it comes to inventory management, purchasing, restocking, and markdown strategies, you need a firm grasp of your sales data to make decisions that optimize your return on investment.
Compared to an on-premise POS, an iPad Retail POS system enables you to optimize your inventory levels across all your stores, on and offline, from the same place. The information is in real-time, so you always have a firm grasp on the backbone of your business — the products you sell.
Key inventory management features to look for
- Dynamic reorder points: set up dynamic reorder points on each of your products so that you’re notified when inventory levels are below your optimal threshold, then reorder those products directly from your POS’ integrated supplier catalogs.
- Analytics and reporting: track inventory costs, profit margins, and sales so that you can order more of what’s working, less of what isn’t, and mark down old inventory to sell it quickly and make room for new merchandise.
Customer data is an equally important POS feature. You want to have insight into their purchase history, demographic and contact information so that you can send them personalized offers through your loyalty program.
Key customer management features to look for
- Create customer profiles: once set up, these profiles keep track of each customer’s purchase history, product preferences, contact information, and lifetime value. When paired with a loyalty program, you can send these customers personalized offers that reflect their preferences by email.
Fun fact: re-marketing existing customers with a loyalty program can grow your sales by up to 75%. Focus your marketing efforts on your best customers. They’re your brand ambassadors and are far more likely to market your store for you within their social circles.
Set your shop up for long-term success
While late adopters might be reluctant to switch out their on-premise POS for a cloud-based iPad Retail POS system, the benefits clearly outweigh the initial investment of around $1,000. For example, Lightspeed notes that their customers typically grow their sales by 20% within their first year. That growth alone far outweighs the initial setup costs.
With its built-in mobility, flexibility, and reporting, an iPad Retail POS system sets your shop up for long-term success. Its inherent adaptability assures that you’re able to serve more customers, faster — whether that’s in-store or online.
Whether you’re thinking of opening your first retail store, looking to expand your store count or simply looking to make a change from your existing provider, make sure that your retail POS offers you the same benefits as the ones listed in this article. Remember, you want a system that fits into your aspirations while improving your customer experience. Implementing a modern system is one surefire way to accomplish that and set your store up for long-term success as the retail industry’s tech landscape evolves.