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Challenges with POS eCommerce Solutions

It's often the case that these eCommerce "add-on"s to a POS solution are unsuitable for professional eCommerce sites.

Adam D 2 June 2011

A lot of our customers use POS systems to manage inventory, front of store transactions, etc. The providers of this software are great at creating Point of Sale solutions - that's what they do. Some of these providers offer eCommerce software platforms (which integrate with their POS solution. This is fine for customers with a need for a very simple eCommerce website. For large companies wanting a professional approach to eCommerce, unfortunately these providers will sometimes be a bit opportunistic and over state the capabilities of these POS eCommerce solutions. In short, it's often the case that these eCommerce "add-on"s to a POS solution, are unsuitable for a professional eCommerce sites.

Apart from the fact that these eCommerce solutions are proprietary, they pose the following advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of an eCommerce solution offered by a POS provider

  • They integrate seamlessly with the POS system - they're created by the same vendor, so obviously work very well together.
  • They're typically much cheaper to setup.  The solutions are usually rather simple, and quick to setup, with a few configuration files, and few template files to be edited to suit.

Disadvantages of an eCommerce solution offered by a POS provider

  • They're typically not SEO friendly (they may have some basic SEO capabilities) and they're not built with SEO in mind. They're built with integration in mind, and the software vendors expertise is in POS systems, not eCommerce, so SEO is overlooked or given limited focus.
  • Closed platform (proprietary). As mentioned already, this makes it hard to customise, and almost impossible to partner with an expert eCommerce agency, as they'll know almost nothing about the vendor's system, and are unable to modify it to maximise your ROI.
  • License costs - as with most proprietary software, there will be license costs.
  • Product evolution - since the software has been written by a POS company - whose expertise and main focus is selling more POS systems, the product evolution will be slow in comparison to a dedicated eCommerce platform provider.
  • Addons & customisations - if you need a new component built, or changes to the standard product, you need to pay the provider to do it - which is likely to take a while since they're busy writing and selling POS solutions and may have many large customers - are you big enough to be a priority in their product development stream?

All of this is important to consider, however the overwhelming issue we see with most POS based proprietary eCommerce solutions is that they are an afterthought of the POS software; they're created to fill a perceived hole in the market, and while you may end up with a "suitable" software solution, you can often miss out on a "business changing", well thought out, professionally executed, eCommerce solution that opens up a new channel to market for your business - which is what a good eCommerce solutoin is all about.

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