As digital commerce sees greater consumer adoption, the impact is being felt at the point of sale. Retailers’ top priority for 2021 is to grow or enhance their digital-commerce efforts, with 85% citing this ambition in the 2021 POS & Customer Engagement Survey Report released this week by Retail Consulting Partners, a Boston-based firm.
Retailers also want to make improving the customer experience, cited by 67%, and ways to improve the supply chain, 52%, top priorities this year. The survey allowed respondents to select multiple objectives. More than 50 retailers participated in the survey.
“Consumers’ accelerated online-shipping behaviors in 2020 increased retailers’ focus on digital commerce and exposed areas of opportunity to improve online capabilities, omnichannel fulfillment options and execution, as well as technical infrastructure and integration,” the report says.
Almost one-third of retailers—30%—plan to replace their POS software this year, up dramatically from 19% in 2020. Another 22% plan to replace their POS hardware in the next 12 months.
As retailers evaluate new POS systems, they’ll look to omnichannel capabilities, lower ownership costs, and additional services, RCP says. “In the past, POS replacements were often driven by the need to extend core POS function such as pricing or loyalty,” the report notes. “While these functions are now table stakes, interoperability and extensibility appear to be a bigger focus for POS upgrades.”
Within the customer-engagement component, many retailers want to add or improve their buy online, pick up in store or pick up at curbside programs. Fifty-two percent say offering additional customer delivery or pick-up options is a top goal for 2021.
For many, one way to do that is to ensure they have the proper point-of-sale software in place. It’s no surprise, RCP says, that 67% of retailers placed integration of order-management systems to point-of-sale systems as a top priority. Indeed, 52% said replacing their POS system is important this year. That’s up from 42% in last year’s survey.
“As retailers think about a new POS system, it isn’t simply the transactional siloed solution of years past—it has to be a solution that is integral in delivering the overall omni-channel customer experience,” the report says.
Retailers will have to think differently about the point of sale. “Thinking about POS and other in-store technology differently is an imperative,” Brian Brunk, a managing partner at RCP, said in a statement. “The customer experience of tomorrow is not the same as five years ago or even last year and, therefore, the concept of POS is and will be radically different than that of five years ago.”