Magento is now bridging the gap between eCommerce and traditional in-store commerce. Many small and medium-sized businesses now operate a traditional shop but also have an online business selling similar products and services. For serious retailers who are investing the long-term growth of both business channels, selling online and face-to-face presents some challenging daily problems:
Managing stock when you’re selling both online and in-store can often mean manual updates to your website when making in-store sales, or adding stock to both systems with each new stock delivery. Add in the additional complexity of returned stock or selling on marketplaces such as Amazon & eBay and your stock control could have you in a flat spin – potentially double selling items or having incorrect stock figures on each channel.
Customer Centralisation & Marketing
Whether customers purchase online or in-store, collecting and managing their contact data and preferences across two systems could result in lost or duplicate data – as well as misinformation on customer purchase history and the ability to tailor your marketing in the future. Retrieving customer history may also be prohibitive and knowing your best customers or how important they are to your business may allow you to be proactive with your future efforts.
Discount Codes, Returns & Credit Notes
If you sell gift vouchers or provide your customers with discount incentives, only being able to use these on one channel may result in lost sales or creating some frustration with your customer. This may also be similar to returns and credit notes which may be split among multiple systems.
Order Centralisation & Reports
Having orders on two systems, or worse still only recording customer orders online and having a simple till system in-store makes reporting and analysing your sales data challenging. You may find some items sell better in-store, more frequently and at a higher price, meaning you can focus your sales to that channel and not oversell online leaving you short of higher PPU (profit per unit) stock.
With Magento now bridging this gap via a variety of EPOS extensions, both channels can now be considered your singular “commerce” system and help you overcome the above list of complications.
The EPOS systems available for Magento all have different features and benefits, which we have outlined in the table below. Selecting one will be down to the specific requirements of your store, but we have also tested the solutions to give you an overview.
This is a well thought out stylish solution we would recommend for smaller retailers. The EPOS skin is fully customisable to match your brand and style which is fully compatible with a barcode reader and till draws which use Bluetooth. The main restriction with this system is it’s only for use on tablet devices so may require some specific investment in equipment (tablet, till draw and barcode reader, see our link on where to purchase this at the bottom of the article) to get you started. Lightweight and fully portable with an online and offline mode, if you are also the type of retailer to get out and about at shows and events, this really does open the door to you trading anywhere with everything syncing and centralising in Magento.
Further info – http://pos.ebizmarts.com
A basic solution which provides a back office checkout page for in-store purchases. This will provide all the sync solutions and eliminate the problems mentioned above, but this is a basic solution ideal for one man owner-operator businesses. Although our guide says this is compatible with most devices, there are no specific device versions and you simply use an admin page in Magento to perform the EPOS functionality. A one-off cost with no monthly subscription does mean cheaper life cycle cost for comparison, eg over 3 years, but this may also mean limited updates when new features and functions are made available. Features such as voucher redemption are also only possible with additional plugins.
Further info – http://www.magestore.com
This solution has been built specifically for Magento from the ground up. All features and functions operate in an intuitive Magento like manner, with many attributes mirroring Magento, making this feel like one system solution. Catering for all device types with responsive layouts, this system feels at home on tablets, mobile devices and desktops so investing in new hardware may not be necessary, but used with a tablet may get you free from a fixed till position and allow you to interact with customers more easily. No offline mode stops this EPOS system from getting full marks, but in our opinion this is the best system available for small to medium sized businesses at a very reasonable monthly cost and support for multiple outlets as you grow.
Further info – http://www.microbiz.com
Brilliantly thought out, well designed and very intuitive, this system will allow your retail business to process orders anywhere in the shop with no fixed till point, connecting with the most common payment systems and till hardware. Allowing other developers to create plugins follows the Magento ethos so expect the functionality of this system to grow rapidly, however everyone wants a share of your subscriptions budget for providing their input and you could quickly be spending thousands per year on your solution. Unfortunately one example of this is a plugin required to sync with Magento called “Vortex” which in automatic sync mode will cost you an additional £33 per month…. don’t get me wrong, this isn’t expensive, but when you consider the manual system is around £8 and the only difference between them is an automated server task, it makes you wonder what other plugin makers will charge for basic functionality and how your costs could spiral.
Further info – http://www.vendhq.com
Contact us today to discuss your EPOS requirements so we can provide a tailored proposal for your store which are all inclusive of installation, configuration, training and support.
*1 With additional configuration – http://support.vendhq.com/entries/21465324-printing-a-gift-receipt
*2 With additional configuration – http://support.vendhq.com/entries/20795247-gift-vouchers
Hardware – http://pos.ebizmarts.com/hardware or www.starmicronics.com
All references are to CE Magento editions.