It’s no surprise that 2020 was a record year for ecommerce sales globally. There has been an upward trend in ecommerce growth since 2012, with COVID-19 acting as a catalyst the value of UK retail sales came in at just under £100 bn in 2020.
With ecommerce becoming the future of the retail industry, it’s crucial that businesses offer the ability for customers to buy online.
However, the high street shopping experience is still important with nearly 80% of shoppers saying they prefer to go in-store to buy an item and 61% preferring to shop with brands that have both a physical and online store.
What does this mean for small retailers? Creating an integrated ecommerce store with your in-store experience is vital for your business to grow and thrive.
Thankfully creating an ecommerce store has never been easier with tools like Shopify allowing businesses of any size to get online.
In this article, we look at 6 reasons why integrating your point of sale with your ecommerce store is important and why we believe Shopify is the best ecommerce solution for small businesses.
6 reasons why you should integrate ecommerce with your POS system
It’s pretty straightforward, it simplifies your business and reporting, and allows you to manage everything via one system.
Here are 6 key reasons why integrating ecommerce with your POS system is important.
1. Make Omnichannel sales
The most obvious reason why any business would integrate an ecommerce platform into their business is the opportunity to increase your sales channels.
Rather than having one location where shoppers can browse your products and buy, they have the opportunity to shop with you at any time.
With an integrated ecommerce platform you can literally make sales in your sleep.
The biggest advantage of having an integrated ecommerce and POS system is that it allows you to sell with the confidence that your inventory and sales are accounted for across both platforms, saving you wasted hours of administrative work.
2. Consolidated sales reports
By integrating your POS system with your ecommerce store you can consolidate all your reporting into one more powerful sales report, enabling you to operate more strategically.
You will have a better idea of your best sellers across all platforms, what products are performing well on what channels and importantly where there could be a potential shortage due to increased demand.
3. Greater stock visibility
When operating separate sales channels it can be easy to lose track of your inventory levels and be at risk of overselling online when items have actually sold out in-store.
Not only is this a poor customer experience but creates a tiresome cycle of administrative tasks and manual stocktakes that slows down your operations. An integrated ecommerce and POS system will prevent this and it will increase the visibility of your stock levels.
Use automation with the likes of Shopify or AirPOS to notify you when stock is getting low so you always have stock when you need it, saving you time and simplifying your workload.
4. Grow your audience
With an ecommerce platform, you will be able to open your business up to a wider audience nationally or globally.
Omnichannel also increases the likelihood of customers coming across your brand and shopping with you.
Interestingly, industry research shows that those businesses that invest in omnichannel sales retain an average of 89% of their customer base compared to the 33% retained by a single sales channel.
You can also grow a marketing audience by collecting website user information, this is great when you want to launch new products, sales etc. and it allows you to increase sales.
Or alternatively, you can retarget users on your website with Facebook and Google ads to keep potential customers coming back to buy more.
5. Get customer insights
Integrated ecommerce is the ultimate way to find out more about your customer’s buying habits. What products do they like and those they don’t, are there certain products they’d prefer to buy in-store rather than online?
You can use your omnichannel reporting to drill into your customer data and create a shopping experience that you know they’ll love and be loyal to.
You can also create customer accounts that track everything your customers buy, and you can use this data to encourage them to purchase things that are a good fit for them, helping increase sales further.
6. Improve your customer experience
With an integrated ecommerce system you maximise customer satisfaction better than ever before.
With access to their data, you can create unique loyalty programs that you know they’ll love and even encourage those who only shop online to visit your physical store.
Give customers the flexibility to buy online, or in-store.
Click and collect serves to bridge the gap between online selling and in-store pickup.
With an integrated system you can offer a simple way to click and collect from you, not only does this benefit your customers, a recent study found that 35% of shoppers who pick up an online order in a shop will make additional purchases on collection.
Why use Shopify for Ecommerce?
Having an integrated ecommerce and POS system is going to be fundamental for any modern retailer in 2021.
With so many options it can be hard to choose the right platform particularly if you have no experience with ecommerce.
We have over 15 years of ecommerce experience at AirPOS, and during that time we’ve tried and tested various ecommerce platforms.
Our recommendation for retailers and small businesses would be Shopify ecommerce.
Shopify is the largest self-hosted ecommerce platform in the world boasting over 500,000 ecommerce websites worldwide.
5 reasons why Shopify ecommerce is great for retail businesses
1. It’s easy to use
Shopify is arguably the most user-friendly ecommerce platform available to small retailers. With little knowledge or experience, any business owner can set themselves up with an attractive ecommerce store and start selling.
Shopify operates using themes which makes it an incredibly simple platform to use. Users need no coding knowledge or technical experience, they just need to choose the theme to act as their site’s skeleton and then begin uploading their product details.
With a POS integration like Shopify and AirPOS, this process has become even easier as all products in your system will be synced across automatically saving you time on manual inputs.
For a comparison of Shopify compared to other ecommerce alternatives check out our guide on the best ecommerce platforms for small retailers.
2. Ready to use themes
Shopify offers out of the box themes as a simple way to build an attractive ecommerce store however this does not mean that all Shopify stores look the same.
The ecommerce giant has a huge theme store and all of which are customisable so as to align with your business. You can add your own brand assets and copy to make your store reflect your messaging.
It is possible to customise the code behind the themes however this would require more technical experience and in some cases a higher subscription model.
We’ve put together a list of the best free Shopify themes here.
3. SEO capabilities
One of the most common buzz terms that come up when discussing websites is SEO (Search Engine optimisation). You’ve built a great ecommerce store but how do you ensure your customers can find it?
SEO enables you to enhance elements of your site so that when crawled by google you will climb higher in the search rankings. This is based on how relevant your site is, its usability and how authoritative your domain is.
Shopify has the functionality to allow you to fully optimise your site for search engines and help your rise up the search rankings.
Through their ecommerce platform, you can add the appropriate keywords, adjust your site structure, add links and also submit your site map.
Check out the Shopify SEO guide.
Shopify pricing starts from $29 a month and offers a wide variety of themes to help small retailers build their ecommerce stores.
These themes range in style, functionality and also price meaning there is a theme suitable for any retailer, even those on a budget.
Particularly for small retailers venturing for the first time into ecommerce the free themes available in the Shopify store are perfect.
They offer all the functionality you need to showcase your products and are customisable enough to fit your branding.
We have put together our top 5 free Shopify themes and scored them based on customer reviews, functionality and usability. Make sure to check it out before starting with your ecommerce store.
5. Integration options
If you’re searching for an ecommerce platform that is well connected you won’t find one much better than Shopify. They offer 1000s of plugin options enabling businesses to integrate their favourite apps and tools with their ecommerce store.
You can connect your ecommerce store with CRM tools such as Mailchimp to improve your user experience or integrate with accounting platforms like Quickbooks and Xero to build more detailed reports.
The possibilities are endless.
The future is brick-and-click
In an increasingly competitive retail environment business owners need to ensure they are doing everything to meet customer needs. 2020 illustrated the fragility of only having a physical store and a single sales channel.
Having great online and in-store store experiences is the future of retail and having it makes it a seamless experience across both platforms using an integrated ecommerce and POS system allows your business to do just that.
If you’d like to learn more about integrating your POS system with ecommerce and how it can help your business grow, reach out to our team of experts and we can provide you with advice on how it can work for you.
AirPOS and Shopify
AirPOS has always been devoted to giving retailers the tools to make selling simpler whether it’s through our point of sale system, inventory management system or our integration options.
As we move into 2021 we want to improve this offering by giving you an online platform to keep growing.
With our Shopify integration, you can sync your data instantaneously from your POS to your Shopify ecommerce site allowing you to build an attractive online store with minimal effort.
Having an integrated Ecommerce store is fundamental in multichannel success and with AirPOS there is no easier way for small retailers to get online!
Check out our Shopify integration to find out more about how you can start with multichannel sales today.
Sound too good to be true?
Hear from one of our customers, Merchants of Fun, who have been able to transform his business through integrating AirPOS with Shopify for detailed reports and omnichannel selling.