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Why retailers need to integrate their ERP and POS solutions

When it comes to ensuring that your retail data is accurate, few actions are as important as integrating your ERP and POS systems.
Integrating ERP and POS system, cloud ERP integration

Integrating ERP and POS Solutions

Whether shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, online or over the phone, customers in today’s digital economy anticipate a seamless engagement with each channel. (This is what is known as an omnichannel retail experience.) Effectively managing these rising expectations requires retailers to implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems. But synchronizing accounting and finance data along with inventory status, pricing, shipping and logistical data between the disconnected systems is pretty much impossible, so integrating ERP and your retail POS systems becomes a necessity.

To understand the importance of connecting the two separate systems, let’s examine the capabilities of each system and how these capabilities are amplified when joined together.

The Retail POS System

A retail POS system facilitates business and customer transactions in a physical location or online. The system’s hardware and software allow a business to accept payments, calculate taxes, provide receipts, monitor sales, and collect customer data. Many modern systems also offer inventory management and reporting capabilities.

Selecting the right POS system involves doing some homework. Retailers will need to assess a potential POS system’s ability to accommodate a wide range of digital and physical payment mediums and determine if it has extensive computing power. They’ll also need to investigate if the system is customizable for their unique needs, is a user-friendly and digitally secure tool for them and their customers, and above all, is capable of effortlessly integrating with a cloud-based ERP solution.


Understanding the Potential of ERP Solutions

To understand why ERP and POS integration helps transform retail businesses from ordinary to extraordinary, it’s important to first understand what an ERP solution is and what it does.

An ERP solution is the linchpin for every department in an organization, from finance, accounting, and sales to supply chain, inventory, human resources, and customer management. Data from each department is gathered into the ERP solution, providing team members with a centralized database of real-time, company-wide information. With access to native and external business intelligence tools, an ERP solution gives companies the ability to analyze accurate, up-to-the-minute data and use this information to make forecasts and plan for demand.

Designed to integrate seamlessly with third-party applications, an ERP solution can be effortlessly linked to most retail POS systems. So, introducing an ERP solution to your POS system—effectively creating a comprehensive ERP POS solution—gives you the data you need to make decisions, your team members the information they need to do their jobs well, and your customers the positive experience they need to become loyal, returning buyers.

The Importance of ERP for Retailers

A cloud ERP solution acts as both the conduit and as the central repository for a business’ data. Business data across the organization (including finance, accounting, sales, supply chain, inventory, human resources, and customer management) flows into and out of the system, eliminating informational silos and allowing full visibility into business operations. Critical information is accessible at any time, from anywhere via a web-enabled device. Additionally, a comprehensive cloud ERP solution allows businesses to automate manual tasks, streamline workflows, track resources, and utilize built-in business intelligence.

Point of Sale (POS) systems are ubiquitous in businesses that sell products directly to customers. Traditional POS systems help facilitate and track financial transactions (e.g., calculate product pricing and taxes, print receipts, etc.), and their more modern counterparts perform these same tasks while also helping businesses manage inventory and gather crucial sales and customer data.

Both conventional and advanced POS systems greatly benefit retail businesses, but they fall short of providing retailers with the critical operational information they need for smart, strategic decision-making. To make up for this shortfall, a business can, and should, integrate its retail POS system with a state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, which will give them:

  • Streamlined data integration across platforms.
  • Improved accuracy and reduced risk.
  • Easy customizations.
Amanda Datte
"We knew Acumatica was a solution that we could grow with. We knew that it wasn't going to limit us to what we could do. There is a lot of possibility for Clive and how we want to continue to expand."
Amanda Datte, CFO
Clive Coffee

Improved Data Integrity

After an ERP POS integration, information entered in one solution will automatically transfer to the other. This bi-directional synchronization means, when a sale is made, your data flows directly from the customer through the POS system to the ERP system, where it can be accessed by the sales team, the accounting team, etc. Data from every department also flows directly to the POS system, so all team members have accurate, up-to-date information. Human errors and delays caused by double data entry are eliminated, and real-time data is immediately at your disposal.

Higher Forecast Accuracy

Past and present data play a huge part in forecasting, and an ERP POS solution provides complete data visibility. As a result, you have the information you need to make informed decisions about how to serve your customers—including what to order, what your future costs will be, how to allocate your funds and resources, and much more.

Built-In Customization

As customer needs vary, so, too, do their customer journeys with your business. Your organization’s needs, and the needs/moves of your competitors, also fluctuate. So, you must implement a solution that can be customized to fit your unique requirements, satisfy the changing needs of your customers, and oppose the shifting tactics of your competitors. Modern ERP solutions, like Acumatica, provide the flexible, scalable architecture you need to make this a reality.

Keeping Your Front and Back Office Connected

Retailers rely on updated and synchronized data in order to have the information and insights that allow them to optimally serve their customers. This means that sales from the retail floor or eCommerce portal must be shared with accounting, finance, marketing, and other aspects of the business. Simultaneously, back-office data, such as inventory availability, must be communicated to the front-end teams.

When this sharing occurs, every team member has access to actionable, accurate data—data they can use to confidently process orders, sell products, respond to inquiries, and more.

Receive Reporting in Real-Time

Another advantage of integrating ERP and POS systems is real-time reporting—a feature that doesn’t exist with separate systems. Instead, reporting requires manual intervention, which can result in:

  • Human error
  • Delayed data input
  • Dissatisfied customers

Automatically transferring the data between the connected systems removes double-data entry, thus saving time and reducing errors. And real-time reporting can lead to an improved customer experience.

Improving the Customer Experience

Customer satisfaction is the ultimate indicator of success. Satisfied customers become loyal customers, and loyal customers share their experience with other customers.

One method of ensuring customer satisfaction is by providing customers with detailed information throughout the buying process. For example, retailers can inform their customers of item availability. If an item is out of stock, they should be able to say when the item will be available (which may need to include a discussion on the current supply chain disruptions). And if a customer purchases a product that is to be delivered, the retailer must provide a seamless delivery experience, informing the customer when and how it will arrive.

Ultimately, a cloud ERP integration with a POS system provides the retailer with updated, accurate information, which they can share with their customers. As a result, their customers have confidence in the retailer, the retailer’s product, and the retailer’s business.

See what’s possible when you have a future-proof ERP platform that truly puts customers first.

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