How are POS and e-commerce related?

The future of POS systems - Part II

The order of the day in e-commerce is a multichannel strategy: the dovetailing of online and brick-and-mortar retail. This also applies to plentymarkets.

In an interview, Torsten Dachs, Product Owner plentymarkets App / POS / PlentyBase, talks about the future of POS systems, the importance of service innovations for brick-and-mortar retail and the plentyPOS product.

Mr. Dachs, as a Product Owner at plentymarkets, you are always up to date and know the latest trends. In your opinion, what does the future of POS systems look like?

Unfortunately, I don't have clairvoyant abilities (laughs), but basically one can say that POS systems are currently becoming more complex - in terms of hardware and software. This has to do with the new value streams in retail, i.e. the necessary changes and efforts to ensure the continued existence of stationary retail. One example of the current change is the approach taken by Zalando, in which the company cooperates with local retail partners and thus enables delivery as promptly as possible. In addition, with mobile phone credit, voucher cards from other companies (e.g. Amazon, Thalia, etc.) and tickets, products are now sold that were not on your screen a few years ago and that require different processing. And then of course the topic of process automation in retail plays a major role. The “classic” cashier is increasingly being replaced by self-checkouts and payment machines, which means that sooner or later fewer staff will be required. The rather demanding sales work could instead be taken over by a few highly qualified PoS managers.

Why did plentymarkets - as a "classic" online provider - decide to develop a PoS-compatible system?

Yes, that's right, plentymarkets' core competence lies in the area of ​​e-commerce. However, we have been working on the POS solution plentyPOS since 2016 - by the way, a quite extensive process, as we quickly discovered. The reason for developing plentyPOS was the desire to simplify established procedures in the omnichannel area. We have dealt with topics that in our opinion are still far too complicated, for example the mobile processing of orders at trade fairs. We also worked closely with our customers who repeatedly missed certain features on the POS system. So we have gradually expanded our omnichannel solution, which we will certainly continue to do in the future.

Do your customers tend to include online retailers who want to gain a foothold at the PoS, or are they more purely stationary retailers who want to be active online?

We serve both target groups, although the initial spark came from existing plenty customers with e-commerce solutions and an additional cash register system. In the future, of course, we want to position ourselves as broadly as possible and support online retailers with on-site sales of products that require intensive advice - e.g. B. in store sales or at trade fairs - and make the topic of multichannel attractive to stationary retailers. Incidentally, our target group also includes “pure players” who really only sell stationary. If the retailer has several branches or several cash registers in his shop, he has the option of central inventory reconciliation with our cloud-based solution. Further advantages of plentyPOS are the central user administration, the central reporting and the possibility of higher-level evaluations. The maintenance of the system is particularly easy and the necessary updates can be downloaded directly from the PlayStore or AppleStore. In addition, the start-up investment is low and scalable, as no expensive hardware is required and the plentyPOS system is capped in the old tariffs and billed at a fixed price in the new tariffs, which is low-risk and therefore particularly attractive for start-ups. All in all, one can say that our system offers significant added value for all target groups, which we continue to expand through close customer contact. In order to be able to fully enjoy the advantages of our solution, a certain internet affinity can of course not hurt.

You have just touched on the subject of costs. What amount are we talking about here exactly?

In general, billing at plentymarkets is order-based. In addition to a certain basic fee per order, there is a variable, sales-related share. At plentyPOS, on the other hand, we work with a flat rate: We charge 39 euros per month and booked till. Additional orders from a different origin - for example orders from the web shop or from marketplaces - will continue to be billed on an order-based basis.

How exactly does the system work? Is there an on-premise solution or is it completely cloud-based?

plentyPOS is completely cloud-based, as running it on your own server would be far too maintenance-intensive. In order to take the fear of downtime away from the more traditional retail trade, we are currently working with our colleagues from plentyBase on a fail-safe solution. Through regular synchronization or comparison of article data, the retailer can - with a few restrictions - create fully operational orders. We are investing heavily in the issue of resilience and will publish this in the course of the year.

Can the online retailer offer the same payment methods in the checkout as in the stationary shop? For example, also the hire purchase by easyCredit?

Well, it is as follows: There is no automatic mechanism to automatically make every payment method from the web shop also usable in plentyPOS. But we can write and integrate payment plugins, which we are currently working on intensively. Of course, we already offer a range of basics: For example, cash sales, ZVT plugins for the major device manufacturers so that the EC terminals work or our SumUp plugin for Android devices. Since we consider ratenkauf by easyCredit to be an exciting product, after a few discussions with TeamBank I am pretty sure that we will also write a plugin for it.

Would like more? Then read parts I and III of our series »The future of POS systems at the PoS«.