Considering eCommerce? A unified solution can save you time and money
We’ll look at how to avoid costly mistakes when it comes to selecting your eCommerce platform.
So you’ve decided to take your retail business online but you’re not sure what the next step should be. You know you are going to need an eCommerce website, but there are so many options you don’t know which way to turn. On one hand, you can create a cheap and cheerful website yourself on Wix and it doesn’t look too difficult. On the other hand, there are thousands of developers out there who can knock up a Shopify or WooCommerce site for you for a few thousand pounds, and they’re professionals so their sites are probably pretty good, right? But how will you connect to your ePOS?
And then there’s inventory management…if you’re growing your business you’re going to need a solution for that too because spreadsheets are a nightmare and most ePOS solutions can’t cope with online sales and inventory as well as in-store.
This is a critical time for your business and if you don’t get it right, it could set you back thousands of pounds before you even realise your chosen solutions don’t integrate with each other. But an all-in-one solution is really expensive, right? Let’s take a look at the options.
Integrating with an eCommerce provider
If you’re determined to keep your current ePOS solution because you’ve already invested in it and it does the job in-store, you’re going to need to integrate it with your new online store. If you’re lucky and you happen to find an eCommerce provider who integrates with your chosen ePOS already then it’s probably not going to be an issue. Although now you’ll have two separate software providers so who do you turn to when your integration breaks down or you have an issue affecting both pieces of software? Integrations can be complex and it’s not always easy to work out where the issue is when you have two different suppliers.
Integrating with an inventory solution
Don’t forget, there’s also the inventory side to think about. Does a solution exist which lists both your ePOS and your eCommerce providers as compatible software? And, if you can, you could have the same issue we’ve already discussed if the integration breaks down, except now there is another provider to deal with – so that’s three different companies who have to somehow work together if something goes wrong.
Integrating with an eCommerce solution with inventory management
What if you could find a solution which handles both eCommerce and inventory and can integrate with your existing ePOS? That might solve part of your issue, but don’t forget, there’s always the risk of an integration breakdown and in this case it would not only cause issues with your online sales, it would also mean your inventory is no longer correct as you continue to sell in-store.
Integrating separate systems can have it drawbacks for your customers too. Only 60-70% of features usually work when integrating one system with another. Many customers shop both in-store and online, so providing a consistent customer experience is vital. Gift cards, promotions and loyalty points that work seamlessly in-store and online, provides a better experience for your customers, but it says you time too, as you only need to setup each feature once.
If that all sounds like a bit of a nightmare, it’s because it can be. So, what’s the answer?
Unified ePOS, eCommerce and inventory management
The most economical and efficient means of operating a bricks and mortar store alongside an eCommerce business is to invest in a unified solution. If your first thought is that you’d have to get rid of existing ePOS, you’re partly correct but it’s not the full story. Typically your hardware is the largest upfront investment you have to make when you purchase a new ePOS solution, and with Saledock, you can choose keep your existing hardware or upgrade it to the latest technology. And, the inefficiencies experienced by trying to integrate multiple separate systems (and ensuing downtime when it all goes wrong) mean it’s actually becomes more cost-effective the sooner you unify your systems.
So what are the benefits to a unified solution?
Secure and stable integrations
We’ve addressed the potential issues with integrations which rely on multiple Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) and how complex it can become when you have to rely upon several integrations. However with a unified solution you get secure and stable integrations through a single application so no more suppliers passing the buck and claiming an issue has been caused by someone else’s software.
A unified solution means the core of your business; eCommerce, ePOS and inventory management is managed using one system, under one roof. Looking to sell on additional channels? No problem.Saledock seamlessly integrates with your chosen payment provider, Xero accounting software, HubSpot, social media, and online marketplaces such as Amazon. Need an integration we haven’t mentioned? No problem, our developers are based in the UK so you have local support and assistance to solve any issues.
A single provider
In addition to simplifying integrations, you also benefit from having a single point of contact for support for all areas of your business. Not only does this mean you know exactly who you need to speak to when you have a question, it means you only have one invoice to pay at the end of every month so you can keep control of your costs. And, you gain economies of scale when you unify your operation, so you spend less for a unified solution than you would if you had multiple suppliers.With Saledock you benefit from dealing with a single supplier for all your software and hardware needs. Our team is on hand to assist you by phone, email, online help centre or by live chat.
Analytics and reports
When your solution is unified, so are your reports. No more spreadsheets or downloading data to work out how your business is performing – with one single interface you can view your business’ performance across every sales channel in an instant. Benefits include reports, analytics and insights into your sales channels, products and even your employees’ performance so you can identify what is working and what isn’t, with just a click of a mouse.Saledock’s analytics tools provide accurate, real-time data so you always know how your business is performing. Optimise your stock profile, get to know your customers and sell more by making intelligent, fact-based decisions.
Features of a unified solution
When you manage everything together, you can easily transfer stock between channels and locations, make single or bulk pricing changes, create loyalty programmes, manage your customer database and, most importantly of all, sell your products with a single solution.Bring your point of sale, payments, eCommerce, inventory, stock control, loyalty, customer management, accounts and support together with Saledock.
Saledock brings together every single element of your retail business, all under one roof. And, not only can you manage your eCommerce website through our platform, we’ll even build your website for you!
Saledock’s developers create sites for all types of retailers, including clothing retailers, pet stores, homeware and furniture retailers, toy stores and more. Every Saledock eCommerce site is built on our proprietary platform and is bespoke to your business. This intuitive and easy-to-use eCommerce platform allows you to control your products, site content and media. Our professional site design service starts from as little as £1,495 and your new eCommerce website can be delivered between 6-8 weeks.
Taking a piecemeal approach to your business management systems can be time consuming and costly and the more integrations you add, the higher the risk of expensive downtime and other issues. It’s important that whatever stage your business is currently at, you think ahead to the future. That’s why at Saledock our plans start from just £59 per month for the Essential plan which includes ePOS and inventory management.
As your business grows you can add features by upgrading your plan to Pro (£79 per month) which also includes loyalty and integrations, or to our Unified solution (£129 per month) which also includes eCommerce.
With Saledock you’ll never outgrow the solution because it grows with you. So, whether you are just starting out and want to future proof your business, or you’re looking for a new solution because it doesn’t have the scope you need, why not start with a 14-day free trial.
Simply create your Saledock account here and see why innovative and ambitious businesses choose the Retail Systems Awards Point of Sale Technology of the Year solution to grow their business.
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