Multi-Channel: What Does It Mean for POS?

Mobile technologies and web based innovation has changed the world of point-of-sale (POS). Businesses used to only have to worry about their counter-top to collect revenue. The big concern was how many lanes or stations a business should have. Now the challenge many business face is how many sales channels do I employ? It’s a difficult question for all businesses of all sizes to answer.

Should I have a web-store? Should I be worrying about in-store returns on items purchased online? Does it make sense to have a mobile check-out solution or a self-service kiosk? All of these questions are important for business owners to consider when looking into a multi-channel strategy.  Each of these sales channels represents an opportunity to earn revenue and compete.

These questions that businesses are asking present a series of opportunities for POS developers, resellers and other business solutions providers. Go to any tradeshow these days and count the amount of integrators there are in the industry. There are tons and they are all there to compliment the point-of-sale and help create functionality that help create that multi-channel experience.

First and foremost, these are upsell opportunities. These new solutions or sales channels present opportunities to go into existing accounts and add solutions and increase revenue. There are a lot of shopping cart plug-ins that work seamlessly with POS that businesses can use to create an online shopping experience. Even outside of retail, there are online ordering platforms that can integrated into a POS system that extend the sales process.

Multi-channel solutions also create competitive advantage for resellers and solution providers. By adding these multi-channel solutions to their portfolio, solution providers know that they are well equipped to handle any questions the client may ask. Shopping carts and mobile extensions are just the beginning. Consolidated reporting has always been the key to what holds multi-channel strategies together. More and more payment companies, like Merchant Warehouse, are offering multi-channel reporting and cross-channel functionality.

Lastly, multi-channel provides opportunities for resellers to start getting into the world of product development. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve met a reseller and he told me that he has started developing their own software or hardware solutions, in addition to selling a couple of POS solutions. This is a newer trend. When I first got into the business, resellers sold one or two options per solution (RFID, surveillance, POS, etc). Now, they are developing platforms that integrate directly into the POS solutions they resell.

The impact on POS is profound and has even created an industry of complimentary POS solutions. Multi-channel or omni-channel sales strategies are creating opportunities for point-of-sale. Whether it’s creating additional functionality or changing sales models for the resellers and dealers, mutli-channel is here to stay.