Commentary

Omnichannel Experience For All

Ecommerce has taken over so much of the retail landscape. Malls and stores are closing because Amazon is trouncing them. This can drive opportunity for small businesses because a lot of that real estate will be developed and occupied by independents. 

We spoke with Michael DeSimone, CEO of ShopKeep, about how independents can stay competitive by creating an affordable, seamless, omnichannel customer experience. ShopKeep provides an iPad-driven, secure, point-of-sale (POS) inventory system and last week announced a partnership with BigCommerce that adds low-cost ecommerce capabilities. 

Q. Where is the opportunity for independents?

A. People want to be able to buy online and independents want to be relevant and offer their customers the ability to buy their products online. It’s not new but it’s something really emerging.

The point of sale is starting to become disconnected from the service counter. POS is moving around in the cloud. This is a way for independents to extend their business and really get into the omnichannel world. From our standpoint, there’s enough demand. We don’t need to advocate to people, ‘You should do this.’ They want it. Most don’t have a tech person so this really speaks to the opportunity for small businesses to access technology they couldn’t individually invest in.

Say a boutique in lower Manhattan has a suburban customer who comes in and buys, loves the merchandise, and wants to know the website to buy again. If they don’t have an answer to that question, the boutique is losing business. 

Q. What’s the benefit? 

A. The integration allows the retailer to take the product inventory in and with the touch of one button automatically reconcile their online store and their bricks-and-mortar storefront. 

Q. But what about Amazon?

A. Big commerce also allows retailers to connect to Amazon Marketplace. Everybody goes to Amazon to search for products. There’s no reason a merchant can’t also choose to list there. This one connection does it all for them. Say you add a new line of spring clothing. It cycles automatically, tracking transactions as they happen. 

Q. What’s the cost?

A. There’s an introductory free offer and then it will cost about $50 per month, depending on the size of inventory. 

Q. Why partner? 

A. We made a decision not to build our own web store. Our plan is to continue to connect to more web store providers and integrate with Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace. This is really just the start of that.

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