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The mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) market is seeing stellar growth — and for good reason.
Traditional systems are costly, involve complex pricing models, are expensive to maintain, and are aesthetically challenged. Tablet-based POS units, on the other hand, are cheap, have simple SaaS-style pricing, include everything a merchant needs, and offer slick interfaces. It is no wonder the mPoS installed base will grow from 13.3 million units today to 54.03 million units in 2019, according to 451 Research.
But issues still exist for retailers, such as how to easily integrate brick-and-mortar retail with an ecommerce presence online and how to keep those two disparate inventories in perfect sync.
Today, Lightspeed POS has announced a new solution — Lightspeed eCom — that is designed to solve that exact problem.
Basically, eCom integrates with Lightspeed Retail, its cloud-based POS solution, and allows retailers to create an online ecommerce site quickly. It integrates and synchronizes online and retail store inventory, sales figures, and customer sales data and enables the retailer to shift stock quickly between channels.
That’s crucial to the success of an omnichannel retailer. Recent findings from Retail Systems Research show that more than 90 percent of retailers consider inventory insight across channels and real-time visibility into customer activity across channels as either “very” or “somewhat” important to success.
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“Retail to eCom is a natural move for merchants and a natural move for Lightspeed at this stage,” J.P. Chauvet, chief revenue officer at Lightspeed told me. “There are three personas in the market right now: retailers who have a brick-and-mortar store but no online presence; those who do have an eCom presence, but it’s not integrated with their physical location; and those that have an integrated brand presence but have to do a lot of manual work to get there.”
Lightspeed is hoping to create a fourth persona, lowering the bar for the integrated retail and ecommerce presence by removing the main barrier to entry: complexity.
A recent study by SessionM — which took in data from 12,000 respondents — showed that 90 percent of consumers have a smartphone in hand while shopping at retail locations. Whether the consumer is researching the product or checking it out in person before buying it later online, retailers need to react to the new normal of the always mobile customer.
“Shoppers are increasingly moving between in-store and online (on various devices) as they shop,” Chauvet said. “To keep up, retailers should be able to seamlessly manage their selling channels without a lot of extra work — no compromises.”
All Lightspeed eCom-built ecommerce sites generated by the solution include blogging options and social media integration. They also allow for complete customization and ship with responsive design templates that adjust to any mobile device.
“For shoppers, this means the searching and buying experience will be tailored to their actions and environment, whether that be on mobile or desktop,” Chauvet said. “All consumer touchpoints are responsive as well: Everything from abandoned shopping cart emails to targeted engagement campaigns to billing conform to the shopper’s device so retailers can engage with customers on any device at any time.”
And the Lightspeed ecosystem includes 150 partners that allow for expanded functionality.
“Our app partnerships ensure that merchants can easily integrate with local technology as well,” Chauvet said. “Take payments, for example: If a retailer is selling in France, instead of being limited to a global payments system that takes a percentage of their fees, they can connect to the local French banks through the Lightspeed app store to reduce fees. Our global network of app partnerships means retailers can sell globally but connect locally.”
Research shows that while the browser is queen and king on the desktop, apps rule on mobile — a topic we’ll discuss in depth at Mobile Summit next month. The partner ecosystem also helps Lightspeed eCom customers offer an ecommerce presence as an app, rather than via the Web.
“We do have partners within our ecosystem that can help Lightspeed users sync a native app with our eCommerce software,” Chauvet said.
The solution also supports multinational and multi-currency ecommerce stores, with configurable delivery methods and zones that calculate international shipping automatically.
Monthly costs vary between $51 and $175 depending on the number of SKUs and authorized users. And the company boasts that when it comes to implementation, it is literally — not figuratively — instant.
“We put a high priority on easy-to-use and well-designed templates that allow retailers to define their category, click a button, and see their inventory online in minutes,” Chauvet said.
For in-store checkout, customers can choose to purchase everything from a card reader to product scanners to a cash register from a Lightspeed partner. Lightspeed card readers are enabled for chip-cards, and the solution is also mobile checkout-ready, working with payment methods like Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
For retailers — especially smaller stores that need to use technology to compete with the big chains — this integration between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce comes with an added benefit: the ability to quickly personalize communications and segment customers, something retailers and marketers find difficult.
“In-store, Lightspeed users can create customer profiles on the fly that include contact information, product preferences, and purchase history, so they can always target the right customers with the promotions they want to know about,” Chauvet said. “Lightspeed’s customer-facing display also enables merchants to control branding in every aspect of their store — including checkout — and customize receipts and promotional messages shoppers see as they swipe their cards.”
Beyond the store, the single customer view allows for continued, relevant targeting.
“With Lightspeed eCom and Lightspeed Retail, merchants can target consumers with recommendations based on what they bought in-store and online,” Chauvet said. “We’re almost in a post-ecommerce world: It’s no longer a question of online versus in-store. Retailers need to have a personalization strategy that integrates seamlessly across both channels.”
Lightspeed eCom is available from today.
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