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Fully Integrated, End-to-End, Embedded…What's the Difference?

Hand pointing at whiteboard showing features of an Integrated System

As a retailer always considering new technology, you are probably inundated with marketing speak. Each company represents their product a different way, and suddenly you’re confused: What is the difference between this product and another? Wait…why are they calling it embedded? I thought it was a fully integrated system?

The purpose of this blog is to officially clear the air for you and to tell you everything you need to know to understand this terminology. In most cases, fully integrated, end-to-end, and embedded all mean the same thing. They are just three different ways of describing what this type of retail management software does.

What it is

When a system goes from end-to-end, it goes from your back office through your warehouse, right into your store, touching every point in between. It is embedded into your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system—that is, it does not work through a hook. The applications are built upon each other which means they are fully integrated so that you can take full advantage of each system in tandem.

What it isn’t

This system is not a point of sale system that integrates to your QuickBooks. You cannot buy the retail management system without also purchasing the ERP system (which is much, much more powerful than QuickBooks can ever hope to be) that it is dependent upon. That means the POS system, ERP system, and retail management system all come in one package. Since the system is embedded into the other system, it is not possible to separate them.

Why get an embedded system?

There are many reasons. You can get real-time updates on the status of products, financials, open invoices, and much more. You get real-time updates of your inventory so that if something is out of stock, you’re not over selling online. You can even have the system re-order an item you are about to go out of stock on so that you don’t have to worry when the next shipment is coming. The system really entails so much. Read about all of the capabilities in Life Without Retail Management Systems: A Retailer's Nightmare.

What about the investment?

Since you are getting much more than Point of Sale system (you’re also getting an ERP system), the cost is higher than a stand-alone system. It is an investment and a way for your business to move towards your desired future state. As your business continues to grow, you will likely outgrow QuickBooks. Instead of dealing with the problem then, retailers who choose an end-to-end system instead understand their future state and allow their business to be ready for that future state to happen at any moment.

Interested in an integrated system or still trying to wrap your mind around the whole concept? Contact the retail experts at ArcherPoint for more details.