With the growth of multi-channel, the landscape for retailers has become increasingly demanding and the growing use of smartphones and tablets has meant that consumer expectations are moving ahead of the capabilities of many retailers.

Retailers need to invest in retail technology so they can recognise and respond to their customers appropriately in the different channels, or they will fail to be relevant and convenient to the modern consumer. The implications of this will be serious and profound and will without doubt lead to losing sales to more responsive, “savvy” competitors.

One key area of investment focus for all those wanting to embrace the expanding multi-channel environment is electronic point of sale (EPoS). At its most basic, EPoS provides an in depth product inventory and barcoded label for every saleable item, while at its most advanced a system can save a business time and money through the automation of processes and provision of accurate figures.

Implementing an EPoS system will bring multiple benefits to your business through intuitive management tools that support payments, stock take, ordering, promotions and reporting. EPoS enables retailers to identify those items that are good sellers or under-performing and the exact quantity sold – armed with this knowledge they can make informed decisions on necessary changes to pricing or promotions, plan better for each buying season and react swiftly to market changes.

Whilst on its own, an EPoS system can improve efficiency, reduce errors, increase security and turnover, the full benefits come from integrating a system with other retail technology. The addition of hardware such as Mobile POS, handheld terminals and Chip & Pin can all help improve the customer experience with a faster, more informative service. However the big improvements come from integrating with software.

Through links to address validation software, staff members are able to quickly and easily input delivery details, complete customer demographic analysis and register customers for company loyalty schemes through the EPoS system. Integrating this with CRM software enables retailers to make full use of their customer records to effectively target marketing activity.

To truly succeed at multi-channel, a retailer’s brand, products, pricing, promotions, service and delivery proposition needs to be presented consistently in the different channels (online and offline). By using a common address validation system across all these channels, the cost of ownership is reduced and administrative processes are simplified. Through integrating back office functions, in-store EPoS and ecommerce operations through one system, retailers can fully realise the value of the investment they have made having a physical store and knowledgeable staff.