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Choosing the right EPoS software

In a modern retail environment having the right retail EPoS system is a fundamental and core requirement. Because of this, it’s vital to approach choosing retail EPoS software from a position of knowledge about the different types systems available, pricing models and the functionality you may need. 

Some key questions you should think about include:

  • Do you need new EPoS software and hardware?
  • How will it interact with other systems?
  • Does it need to be a cloud based EPoS?
  • How many till points do you have?
  • Are you running loyalty schemes and vouchers?
  • Which EPoS vendor pricing model best suits your business?

 

OMNIS by Iconography
OMNIS by Iconography

Did you know that our Unified Commerce platform mixes eCommerce, RMS, CRM and EPoS to provide an award winning omnichannel solution?

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Buying new EPoS software

If you’re in the process of researching or buying new EPoS software this is an essential read. We cover everything from what a retail EPoS system should do to the various pricing models used by vendors. We also look at traditional vs modern, omnichannel EPoS solutions. 


Understanding EPoS systems

Our 20+ years of experience in eCommerce and retail means we have extensive knowledge of retail EPoS and omnichannel systems. Every retailer is different but there are some key principles that can be applied across the board that are considered ‘best practice’ when choosing the right EPoS for your retail business.


What is a retail EPoS system?

Let’s start by briefly covering what a retail EPoS system is and does. Most retailers will be familiar with this but it’s always useful to stay up to date, especially if the till or EPoS system you’re running is a few years old. Technology moves quickly! 

An Electronic Point of Sale or EPoS system is made up of two components, the hardware and the software. The hardware is usually a screen, a cash drawer and a device that can be used to take card payments. You might also have a barcode scanner and a till receipt printer. 

Retail EPoS software is the programme that enables you to capture and analyse your sales data electronically. Modern software also incorporates stock information, customer information and information on sales and stock from other stores and even eCommerce channels and warehouses.

Throughout this post we will mainly be talking about EPoS software, but we will touch on hardware too.


““In a global survey, 74% of in-store shoppers who searched online before going to the store to shop, said they searched for something in-store related such as the closest store near them, store locations, in stock items near them, hours, directions, wait times, and contact information.” ”
- Think With Google

The modern approach to retail EPoS software

For retailers operating multiple sales channels, be it a chain of stores or physical stores and an eCommerce site, ‘omnichannel retailing’ has become a bit of a buzzword. To put it simply, omnichannel retailing is the idea that wherever a customer interacts with a retailer, be it online, over the phone or in-store, the experience is consistent, smooth and personalised.

This new way of shopping, and retailing, is backed up by various studies that found many consumers no longer see ‘channels’, and expect to be able to shop how they want, when they want with no restrictions. 

This is relevant because old EPoS software struggles to deliver this omnichannel capability. It’s usually been hastily developed to try and offer this functionality which has led to unreliable integrations and updates. On the other hand, modern EPoS software has been built with omnichannel as the core focus, enabling retailers to easily meet these new consumer demands.

For multi-channel retailers having an EPoS that’s been built with an omnichannel first mindset is extremely important. Being able to access and supply shoppers with accurate and up-to-date product and stock information is essential, and without a modern system it’s near impossible. 


Cloud EPoS vs on premise

Another important distinction to make between systems is whether or not it’s cloud based.


EPoS software that is hosted in the cloud means that updates and security fixes are handled by the vendor. Updates either happen automatically or you simply install and update your version of the system when it becomes available. 

On the other hand, on premise systems are difficult to update because the update can’t simply be downloaded and installed. Usually it requires some IT knowledge or the vendor to carry out the update for you which comes at extra cost on top of your licencing fees.

Additionally, cloud based EPoS solutions can be accessed from anywhere, any time and the information will always be up to date. This isn’t always easy or possible with on premise solutions. Legacy on premise systems are therefore not suitable for retailers who want to modernise and streamline their retail operation and have access to real-time metrics on business, store and sales channel performance. 


Traditional, stand alone EPoS vs an omnichannel retail EPoS system

Deciding on whether you need a stand alone or an omnichannel EPoS system is the next critical consideration. Given the change in consumer shopping habits over recent years, as demonstrated by the Think With Google study, more multichannel retailers are choosing omnichannel systems over standalone EPoS software. 

One of the main reasons for this is because omnichannel EPoS systems don’t have integrations. Although standalone systems can be integrated with other systems in your retail software ecosystem, this isn’t always a good idea. Integrations are prone to failing and if one goes down it can impact everything from updating stock, to not being able to process sales across your estate. 

Omnichannel EPoS is different. Often called ‘Unified Commerce’ these platforms include EPoS, eCommerce, RMS, CRM and inventory management in one system, run from one database. This means no integrations leading to more system uptime, fewer vendors to deal with and fewer updates across your retail software. 


Omnichannel retail EPoS system benefits

 

Feature

Stand Alone

Omnichannel

Integrations

Stand alone solutions require integrations to extend functionality which cause issues when one or more systems go down causing loss of sales and inefficiency.

Omnichannel EPoS has no integrations as data is held in a central database and distributed wherever it’s needed in real time. All features and software is included in one unified solution.

Stock Reporting

Stock information is not updated in real-time, sometimes not until the end of each day. This makes offering click and collect and reserve online services very difficult.

Stock figures for every channel and location can be viewed in real-time from anywhere in the business. Stock-outs are less likely and value added services like click and collect run smoothly.

Stock Transfers

As stock is not updated until the end of the day fulfilling orders from different locations is cumbersome and often has inaccuracies. Reacting quickly to sales trends is difficult. 

Real-time stock updates means if one store or channel is outperforming others, stock can instantly be ring fenced and allocated to that channel to maximise full margin sell through. 

Loyalty Schemes

Operating a separate CRM, EPoS and eCommerce can lead to issues with awarding and redeeming loyalty points across multiple channels.

CRM is part of omnichannel EPoS or ‘unified commerce’ so there is only one master record for customer data that is used by all channels.

Updates

Updates to stand-alone systems can cause issues with others, especially if using integrations. System down-time is costly as well as trying to fix the system it’s connected to.

One system, one update, no integrations. There’s no risk of an update impacting other systems as omnichannel EPoS includes all of your retail software in one unified platform. 

Vendors

Differing contract lengths, service agreements and vendor blame games when things go wrong make resolving issues quickly near impossible.

One licencing agreement and one vendor relationship with dedicated support makes software management a breeze. Issues are resolved quickly and licenses are more cost effective.

Sales Reporting

Sales reports updated at the end of the day or week can make spotting trends and ordering stock more difficult than it needs to be. Often it’s too late by the time you realise.

Sales from every channel are available in real-time and are always up to date and accurate. This supports data-driven retailing for maximised profits and better customer experiences.

Customer Information

Quickly accessing customer information isn’t always easy. Integrated CRM & EPoS systems can cause issues with data duplication and matching online and offline activity.

Offers a true single customer view enabling you to see how, when and where customers purchased. Quickly and easily create personalised marketing messages and customer offers . 

Returns

Accepting returns from other stores and online channels may not always be possible if they use different stock systems and a different CRM. 

All channels and stores use the same system, powered by the same database. Returns are processed regardless of purchase location with stock and customer details easily updated.

Purchase Ordering

Daily or weekly sales and stock reports make reordering an inefficient and time consuming process. Gathering data from different systems can lead to errors and inaccuracies.

As stock and sales information for every channel is already in one system purchase orders creation and submission can be automated saving time and reducing the risk of stock-outs.


What does an omnichannel EPoS system include?

By now you may have realised that an omnichannel EPoS system offers more than just core EPoS functionality. What you actually get in addition to EPoS is an eCommerce website, customer relationship management software and comprehensive retail management software.


Benefits of an omnichannel system

Where traditionally these systems may be purchased individually and linked using integrations, unified commerce software brings them all together on one platform. This means you can manage online and offline sales, customer information, product information, supplier ordering and sales and stock reporting in one platform.

The benefits of having all of your core retail systems in one piece of software are numerous.

  • Centralising product, customer, stock and sales data gives you an unobstructed view of your retail environment in real-time

  • Vendor relationships are simplified and software issues are resolved quickly with no ‘blame-game’

  • You can tailor software to match your specific business needs to maximise your ROI

  • Training new staff is easier and more efficient as they only have to learn one retail system

  • Setting up new stores and new users can be done quickly and only needs to be done in one system

  • Because there are no integrations there is less to go wrong and data from every channel is collected in real-time in one central database 

Find out more about Unified Commerce by downloading our eBook here.



EPoS with OMNIS Retail

Choosing the right EPoS system for your retail business can feel like a minefield, especially with so many different solutions on the market. When doing your research it’s important to not just think about what you need now, but also what you might need in the future. With consumer shopping habits changing all the time, you need to be sure that you’re buying EPoS software that has been made with this in mind, not an old solution that’s been adapted to try and meet these demands. 

 

Old, legacy systems rarely offer much value and with many using integrations to connect systems and extend functionality, they can cause issues with data transfer, real-time data availability and visibility of stock, sales and customer information from other channels. 

 

If you’re looking for a modern EPoS solution we recommend our cloud based platform that enables you to deliver an omnichannel experience. Typically systems like this are called Unified Commerce and incorporate CRM, eCommerce, inventory management, RMS and EPoS in one system, powered by one database. 


OMNIS was born out of the needs of a leading direct to consumer brand to support their online and instore retailing formats in the UK market. They were facing the same problems and challenges that present obstacles for any retailer.

As a progressive and forwarding thinking brand, our client wanted to remove the limitations, constraints and operational inefficiencies associated with integrating an eCommerce website with offline EPoS and legacy back office retail software.

We quickly saw the vast potential OMNIS possessed. It’s a need we’ve recognised with many other retailers and DTC brands that have similar aspirations and want to remove the restrictions of old retail technology and software.

So, if you’re ready to move away from the year (2005) that USB flash drives were ‘new technology’ and a time when the iPhone wasn’t even a spec on the horizon then we should talk!

Request a Demo ›

Online and instore retail
Online and instore retail

OMNIS Retail is a pioneering new retail solution that has been driven by D2C brands & niche retailers looking to the future. A single database eliminates any data integration issues between outdated systems, instead providing a cloud-based omnicommerce retail solution fit for the 21st century.

Would you like to know more? ›