Oh, the POS-ibilities! Extending Magento for OmniChannel and POS.
One of the challenges of omnichannel retailing is making it work with the sometimes-messy complex buying journey of today’s information-enabled customer.
Minneapolis-based modern furniture retailer Blu Dot has found a way to leverage their Magento Enterprise eCommerce platform to enable an innovative POS approach. Their approach helps the firm meet customer needs while enabling the sales associates role in the buying journey. (full disclosure: Blu Dot is a LYONSCG client)
At the Imagine Commerce 2015 this week in Las Vegas, Blu Dot’s Mike Wodtke (along with LYONSCG’s Charles Kain and David Barr) shared his approach in a presentation called One Platform to Rule them All: B2B, B2C and POS. In the session, Wodtke, Kain, and Barr shared the details on the deployment of Magento Enterprise to become the sales enablement tool for all channels.
Blu Dot innovation grows revenue, serves customers better.
As Wodtke pointed out in the presentation, the primary reason to deploy an in-store POS with access to eCommerce capabilities is to provide sales associates with an easier path to purchase.
Innovation on Bludot.com has been non-stop, and the site features many advanced capabilities to drive sales. Beginning with a B2C eCommerce site that launched in 2010 and generated about $1 million in revenue annually, Blu Dot has seen over 75% annual revenue growth, while adding capabilities for B2B, international (including sites in Australia and a dual-language site in Mexico), and an innovative product customization tool supporting their top-selling Modulicous product line.
This growth has not been due to luck. Blu Dot performs constant site optimization via A/B testing. As Wodtke says, everything is tested—Blu Dot’s team never relies on their gut when test data is easily available.
By 2014, while Blu Dot’s B2C and B2B Magento eCommerce platform had enabled brand and sales growth, further growth was expected from enhancing omnichannel capabilities by implementing a POS.
Five elements of a strong eCommerce POS for retailers
In his presentation, Wodtke shared five tenets for a strong eCommerce point-of-sales solution for retailers.
- Leverage a single Magento-based solution that interfaces with current ERP system
- Deliver new in-store experience on iPads
- Provide strong mobile-optimized brand experience by browsing full inventory
- Credit card read capabilities added to tablet
- Sales associated login for sales tracking
- Associate commissions
- Store credit for internal reporting
- Unique interface enabling store-specific functions
This last tenet stood out as especially important. In today’s buying journey, consumers often visit the website and the retail store in support of the same buying sequence. They often visit the store first, but don’t complete the purchase until returning home.
The Blu Dot POS enables sales associates to assist buyers on their journey, while being recognized for their role in the ultimate sales purchase. By equipping the floor-based sales team with hand held devices and access to a customized B2B site, registered sales associates can help customers choose and configure products, while Blu Dot can manage commission management and inventory control, all with a centralized accounting and localized reporting capability.
Another important element of the BluDot POS approach is the notion of persistent quotes, connected and accessible by associates and customers alike. In-store associates can create a quote that is incorporated as a permanent entry into the customer record.
A “sexy retail experience” for customers and associates alike
Ultimately, the success of the Blu Dot POS demonstrates that retailers can win when they think about how to serve their customers in-store and enable the full capabilities of their eCommerce presence. Such an approach can be brand enhancing, improve efficiencies, and deliver better cost savings versus singular systems and processes.
Blu Dot’s journey to a POS solution shows that retailers can succeed when they deliver an easier path to purchase.
An electrical engineer by education and marketer by choice, Steve Susina uses data and analytics to help firms generate demand, establish thought leadership and strengthen the company brand. He currently serves as Marketing Director for Lyons Consulting Group (LYONSCG), a full-service eCommerce digital agency. He is a Marketo Certified Expert with more than five years experience using marketing automation.