In most retail businesses, even smaller, local “mom and pop” operations, there may be more than one software application in use, each app taking care of one or two aspects of business operations. The result is a hodgepodge of software applications all doing different things but requiring integration with each other and data sharing.
It can be a mess.
When ERP Meets POS
When your business integrates its enterprise resource planning (ERP) program with a point-of-sale (POS) system, then you’re dealing with a horse of a different color. Today’s customers want options in everything. From e-commerce stores to brick-and-mortar stores and even shopping opportunities on social media, the consumer is a mobile animal.
Your business software must be able to keep up with the demands of your customers. It may be time to integrate POS capabilities with ERP functionalities. Even in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, an integrated POS/ERP system can keep them competitive by improving efficiency and providing them a mobile presence to meet consumers’ changing demands.
POS software completes your transactions on the spot. It isn’t dependent on a computer console but is fully functional on a tablet or phone and offers the ease of a touch-screen. It can calculate a sale, including tax and delivery charges, and adjust inventory. This makes your sales staff more efficient, improves sales (and possibly their commissions) and tracks inventory levels in real time.
Integrating with the ERP means your front-office processes and your back-office operations can coordinate and play nicely together.
With an integrated retail system in use, your business combines the front-end POS, inventory and stock management in the middle of the process and accounting in the back-end. There may even be links with your supply chain partners. This means a streamlined process across all departments.
Specific advantages to integrating ERP and POS may include the following:
- Information at fingertips. An integrated mobile POS system provides sales staff with immediate access to information they need to effectively close the deal. Customer information and purchase history helps them make better recommendations, improving cross-sells and upsells.
- Options. By integrating a mobile POS system with your ERP platform, you give your customers the same experience online as they get in your store. You can offer such features as order online and pick up in-store.
- Improved sales numbers. Integrating your mobile POS and your ERP lets you close sales wherever you may be without the need for increased overhead associated with syncing customer information.
- Customer satisfaction. Your customers will appreciate the more personal service they get when your sales representatives have the information they need to help build deeper customer relationships.
- Inventory management. The back-office inventory control can let your front-office sales person know when an item is available in another store so you never miss a sale. You can also get alerts of potential problems, such as a product going out of stock.
…And Not So Good News
As with everything in life, there is usually a downside. The most glaring argument against incorporating ERP/POS into your business platform is cost. These systems can be expensive to implement.
The counter argument is the old adage: you have to spend money to make money. Incorporating an integrated ERP/POS system can help take your business to the next level. With the many positives outweighing the cost outlay, smart business owners are getting on board with ERP/POS systems of their own.