E-commerce and POS not ready to mate

Discussion
Apr 29, 2015

Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.

The Demandware’s XChange Conference in Las Vegas showed that, while the convergence of content and commerce is happening fast, the convergence of e-commerce and point of sale is far from ready for prime time.

Retailers appear to be waiting to see what vendors will do before they make a lot of commitments to a strategy of convergence.

I think convergence will happen, though. We’ve seen in our store and e-commerce studies that retailers were uncertain as to whether e-com as a platform could step up and take on all commerce anywhere, but the last couple of years has seen more certainty from our survey takers — as much as possible, they want commerce to be common no matter the channel, and they’ll deal with the rest. That means price, item, customer, promotion (to some degree), loyalty, etc.

Demandware video
Source: Demandware video

It also means a real opportunity for Demandware, one of a handful of vendors out there that can legitimately claim both e-commerce and now also point of sale. In this case, customers are patient. They are holding on to their existing POS investments a little longer than they would like. They’d rather struggle along for now and wait until the future of this convergence is clear, than jump too early.





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But, as we talked about in a panel session at the conference, that doesn’t mean that retailers are holding still. There are a lot of "surround" strategies in play in retail right now, where e-commerce is being extended to surround POS as assisted selling or endless aisle, as clienteling or other employee-facing apps related to customers. It’s also being extended as stand-alone mobile POS, which may someday grow up to be THE POS, across all channels.

The challenge here is that it really is as hard as it looks. The good news is that retailers, for all that they want it, don’t seem to be rushing in.

How do see convergence of e-commerce and in-store POS developing, if at all? Is mobile the key tool to linking the two? What else beyond mobile does such convergence need?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"What does convergence need? It needs a continuing change in mindset. The retailer must understand that in future commerce the store will be the tail, not the dog. Once that light bulb goes on, everything changes."
"In some cases e-comm based POS will work in the store. There are other cases—especially in very large shops—where it will not work. There are more retailers than we know that are using forms of mobile POS."
"This is a slow development. The key here is not necessarily mobile, but a defined value position which the convergence of e-commerce and in-store POS would offer, if any."

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6 Comments on "E-commerce and POS not ready to mate"


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Gene Detroyer
Guest
7 years 26 days ago

What does convergence need? It needs a continuing change in mindset. The retailer must understand that in future commerce the store will be the tail, not the dog. Once that light bulb goes on, everything changes.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 26 days ago

Allowing a single secure data file structure to be postponed will unnecessarily inflate the size and support costs of the enterprise system and support costs for companies of any size. This is why we are drowning in big data (redundancy) problems and solution costs, as in being pushed into limited-visibility and no-way-out cloud computing disasters. More hardware, software and support costs are not solutions for access to data by any and all system components. The solution lies in creating a single file structure, which is possible, and selectively and securely allowing for access and updates by enterprise software components. This would save countless billions of dollars a year and IT vendors are not too excited about this as an option.

Lee Kent
Guest
7 years 26 days ago

Until such time that commerce is converged into one platform, we will continue to see some disparity within retail. While I totally understand the issues in getting there, it is in the best interest of retail to start moving.

Consider me crazy but, I don’t see mobility as the key tool linking the two. It is the ability to give the customer what they want when they want and how they want, and you can’t do that with multiple versions of the truth.

Single platform, single truth. nuff said!

And that’s my 2 cents!

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 26 days ago

In some cases e-comm based POS will work in the store. There are other cases—especially in very large shops—where it will not work.

There are more retailers than we know that are using forms of mobile POS. Based on the type of retailer, style of store, and their in-store platforms, we will see this slowly fade into a play as a new, optional convenience for the shopper. Apple stores are not the norm, so let’s hope people stop thinking this is the standard way to go. Along with that, the whole world is not just Millennials—yet—so let’s let the shoppers attitudes play a role here.

Last, in-store associate training does not just happen like magic. It takes time and monitoring to assure that the details for solid checkout are covered. Advanced voids and returns are another challenge that makes some of this convergence a bit more difficult than some think.

TRedd – ex-POS programmer…NCR 2141 POS Heaven!

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
7 years 26 days ago

POS and e-commerce for handling sales, will become APIs or web services.

Firms that currently sell POS will move their activities and solution footprints to the services side of things (both front office and back office.)

Mobile is a catalyst since it represents a new app and folks won’t want to develop these systems with a legacy back end.

With security and the ubiquity of commerce (everyone’s a retailer), the commerce-related set of API’s will become a marketplace that will attract investments. I would love to see some of the great boutique companies survive this—and they will!

Vahe – A former 4680 programmer who asks: what were your favorite user exits?

Kai Clarke
Guest
7 years 24 days ago

This is a slow development. The key here is not necessarily mobile, but a defined value position which the convergence of e-commerce and in-store POS would offer, if any.

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Braintrust
"What does convergence need? It needs a continuing change in mindset. The retailer must understand that in future commerce the store will be the tail, not the dog. Once that light bulb goes on, everything changes."
"In some cases e-comm based POS will work in the store. There are other cases—especially in very large shops—where it will not work. There are more retailers than we know that are using forms of mobile POS."
"This is a slow development. The key here is not necessarily mobile, but a defined value position which the convergence of e-commerce and in-store POS would offer, if any."

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