Point of sale (POS) systems are an essential part of physical retail. They allow retailers to process purchases at their brick-and-mortar locations. The systems also track in-store inventory and collect valuable customer data.
Your POS systems must integrate with your e-commerce tech stack to accomplish true omnichannel commerce and access these benefits. There will be operational inefficiencies if there is a lack of integration between your POS and e-commerce system.
When you update your product catalog, an employee must manually update the details at the store. It’s also hard to keep track of your stock across locations and warehouses.
You can avoid all of those difficulties with an e-commerce POS integration as updates happen automatically. With product data from your product information management (PIM) system, in-store staff can answer any product-related questions. If an item is not available, you can place an online order in-store for customers to receive.
An e-commerce POS integration also enables fulfillment methods like buy now pick up in-store (BOPIS). BOPIS has significantly accelerated due to the pandemic, and many big-box retailers have seen great success using it. When executed correctly, retailers can offer customers same-day or next-day pickup. Such efficiency helps companies compete with the likes of Amazon.
There are a variety of ways to set up an e-commerce POS integration. Determining the best method depends on what POS system you use and your e-commerce architecture. In this post, we’ll examine two common methods for integration.
The first method of connecting POS and e-commerce is a direct built-in integration. Certain POS systems will come with an e-commerce platform already built-in, for example, Lightspeed or Shopify. Others, like Square, offer quick connections with popular hosted e-commerce platforms.
Although pre-built connections make linking your channels easier, they also come with limitations. Namely, e-commerce platforms use a monolithic architecture. With this setup, the front and back ends of the platform are tightly coupled. This ultimately makes advanced integrations challenging.
Even though there may be a connection between your platform and POS system, there may also be a disconnect with any third-party services you use. For example, you might use a standalone order management system to handle the order fulfillment.
As you have no control over how the POS communicates with your backend, your options for integrating the system are limited. If you want fully integrated commerce, you need a more flexible way to connect your systems.
For a complete e-commerce POS integration, you need to create a custom connection. The best way to make this connection is through APIs. APIs are designed to allow two systems to communicate with each other easily.
To use them for your integration, you’ll need to make sure you have access to your POS vendor’s APIs. You’ll also need a robust set of e-commerce APIs from a SaaS provider like Fabric.
With APIs, you can connect your inventory management system to all your channels. Your physical stores then have accurate stock levels for your warehouses and other locations. This information is key to efficient inventory management. When in-store stock runs low, you can quickly transfer items from your warehouse.
The integration process is often tricky, as you have to take two separately designed systems and get them to work well together. For e-commerce POS integration, connecting your systems via APIs is the best way to support a growing omnichannel business. With fabric, there’s no need to pour effort into ensuring the APIs work smoothly.