May 1, 2008, 12:00 AM

Store POS systems playing bigger role in cross-channel orders, study says

More multi-channel retailers are allowing customers to place web and catalog orders, check inventory and complete exchanges and returns via their in store point-of-sale systems according to a recent study by Aberdeen Group Inc.

Multi-channel retailers today are finding that their in-store point-of-sale systems can help them do a lot more than complete transactions, according to a recent report by Aberdeen Group Inc.

The report, “Migrating to Customer-Centric Point of Service,” investigated how businesses are upgrading their retail management systems to better serve customers. The responses from more than 175 small and mid-sized and retailers showed that 34% of “Best in Class” retailers have upgraded their in-store POS terminals to enable customers to complete cross-channel purchases, such as web purchases, track online and catalog orders and make returns and exchanges.

Aberdeen’s Best in Class category of retailers report an average checkout time of 1.5 minutes and had year-over-year average transaction value growth of 19.5%.

Sahir Anand, research analyst, retail industry for Aberdeen Group and author of the study, says using the POS for more than simple in-store purchases is a developing trend. “Even the Best in Class retailers need to improve, but they are gradually moving toward making the POS more customer-centric,” Anand says. “If a customer walks into a store with a web order, he could return it at the POS, or if he wants to exchange an item for an item not in the store, he could go online and order it.”

Multi-functional POS systems can help retailers foster an enterprise-wide focus on improved customer satisfaction and revenue growth, the study says.

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