These days if you are running a retail operation you will almost certainly have to sell via several channels in order to sustain a successful business. With an increasing number of sales being made online and an enormous 13% of all online sales in the UK now being made via eBay, retailers must sell via their own websites, eBay, Amazon and in their shops if they are to be successful.
Multi- channel retailing generates sales but also produces a great deal of extra work if you don’t have the right systems in place. Prices must be adjusted, stock monitored and fulfilment managed not to mention products uploaded. It would be beyond the capacity of most independent retailers to effectively handle the complications without the right software in place.
Electronic Till Systems
Happily a solution is at hand to save retailers from a major melt down under the pressure of uploading and managing the sale of their products. EPOS (electronic point of sale) software is now so sophisticated that every aspect of handling and accounting for sales can be managed from one electronic till system which is incredibly user friendly.
Uploading & Pricing
Products can be uploaded to the systems by the thousand with comparative ease complete with the appropriate images and product variants like sizes and colours. Different prices and descriptions can be assigned for the various retail channels enabling sellers to offer their goods at lower prices online than in their shops. Products can be dragged and dropped into the sales channels being used and so the retailer has total control on which products are offered where and at what price. Goods need only be uploaded once for use in all channels saving hours of work and ensuring accuracy.
Stock & Fulfilment
With multiple channels being used, real time stock management is essential in order to avoid selling an item which has already been sold elsewhere. The best EPOS software will allocate stock to a sale immediately whether it has been despatched or not and will issue warnings when stock is running low. The available stock is amended on all channels instantly ensuring that the retailers will be able to fulfil all orders placed and can monitor their stock holding at all times. Fulfilment is centralised for ease of handling sales from the multiple channels with all orders consolidated via the system.
It is much easier to sell to existing clients than to find new ones and EPOS software can help retailers do this. With the ability to recommend associated products and to produce marketing lists from the client’s data, all sales opportunities can be maximised at the time of a sale and in future promotions. Loyalty schemes can also be created and managed to induce repeat business continually.
Reports and Accounting
EPOS software enables the retailer to perform analysis of their sales to establish their busiest times, most popular goods and the best sales channel for each product. It is now even possible to interface the systems with Sage accounting packages to simplify the necessary VAT and accounting procedures for the operation.
Modern retailing is no simple matter and it is all too easy for multi-channel selling to become unmanageable and out of control. It is vital that once a client is gained that their order is handled efficiently and that they have every reason to come back for more. The right EPOS software can ensure that retailers maximise their chances of this happening whilst minimising their workload at the same time.
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and retail business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.