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Get More From Your POS By Integrating Customer Data And ERP Systems

Woman at completing sale with clerk at POS

When a man goes through the checkout at a home improvement store with a circular saw, the cashier looks up from the point of sale (POS) terminal  and asks if he’d like to purchase an additional warranty for the tool. But when the next customer in line buys some lumber, the cashier doesn’t offer the additional tool warranty. The type of product purchase triggers different prompts to the store’s employees, such as trying for an upsell or collecting customer information. This is just one example of how POS systems are tailored to automate different aspects of running a retail business. 

On the most basic level, the purpose of a POS system is to help businesses process sales transactions. The cashier uses the system to start a sale, enter prices, tender cash and print a receipt. But today’s systems offer a number of additional functions and integration opportunities that are tailored for different types of business applications. Take advantage of additional POS capabilities by integrating your basic transactions with your customer data and back-room enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. 

Every retailer wants to know more about the customers that it’s selling to, and POS systems are equipped to gather this additional information. How you go about it depends on the sale scenario. In a grocery store, for example, transactions are fast and furious, and cashiers don’t have much time to request information from customers, beyond swiping or scanning a loyalty card. 

In a high-end suit store, however, the situation may be quite different. The customer has already spent an hour trying on clothes, and probably won’t mind when the salesperson asks for information such as the person’s name, zip code and email address. 

In both of these situations, the POS is configured to associate a trigger event with an information request. These triggers might be simple, such as “start sale” or “end sale,” or represent complex sets of conditions. If you think back to the earlier example of the home improvement store, the circular saw purchase met a certain set of criteria (such as type, dollar amount or manufacturer name) in order to prompt the cashier to offer an additional warranty.

In addition to gathering customer data, POS systems may be used to automate a variety of business processes, including inefficient manual processes. Take special orders, for example. Instead of using a separate system or asking customers to fill out an old-fashioned paper form, some retailers now run special orders directly through their POS systems. Depending on the system’s design, the cashier goes through a number of prompts, collecting data that is eventually routed to the back office for fulfillment. 

For these kinds of advanced functions, a POS system must be able to integrate its transaction data with your ERP software’s inventory and order fulfillment. This integration needs to be quite sophisticated to function smoothly; using a POS and ERP that share a common database offers a distinct advantage over trying to synchronize two different databases. Such a system requires less maintenance and, with fewer data handoffs, reduces the potential for errors.

When it comes to integrating transactions with customer data and ERP functions, POS systems offer varying degrees of flexibility. Start by mapping out the kinds of information your business needs most and the types of business processes you want to streamline and automate. Once you determine the functions that are most helpful for your sales and marketing efforts, customize your POS technology to collect the information.

To learn more about how additional POS capabilities could benefit your business, schedule a free retail operational assessment today.

Author: Wm. Matthew Street, Solutions Consultant/Retail Product Lead at ArcherPoint



Great article! In a world where a majority of shoppers are making buying decisions based on price, and their frequency driven by habit, the POS station should never be looked at as "end of game" but as " what is my next opportunity!"
- and the store representative at the POS plays an important role in this -
Marc Cohen. - Eyeson Digital