Virtualize your Physical Store Instantly by Pulling Real-Time Point of Sale Data

Adapting to Current Shopping Trends

As consumers change the ways in which they shop, retailers need to also change the ways in which they get their products to their customers.

For local orders, same-day pickup is becoming increasingly popular, whether it be with curbside or in-store pickup.

Virtual Stores make Same-Day Pickup Manageable

Of course for your Celerant eCommerce site, you can offer buy online, pick up in store but when you have multiple store locations, it can become challenging to offer that for same-day pick up.

A significant amount of preparation needs to be completed in order to properly allocate your inventory, as well as your different sales tax rates for each store location. At Celerant, we have simplified this process through our new virtual store, which pulls your available product data directly from your point of sale database at the specific store location to create an instant virtual store online.

New Methods for Existing Customers

Let’s take a look at how this works. Our client Evelyn’s has over 50 store locations in the Northeast. While the majority of those stores were closed due to Covid-19, there was an immediate need to offer same-day, curbside pickup at all store locations.

The challenge was that their eCommerce site was not yet equipped to handle this, as the site wasn’t taking into account the available inventory at each individual store location. With limited time to get this accomplished, they turned to our virtual store.

First, it’s important for any retailer to clearly describe your new pickup process on your website, so your customers understand and can easily take advantage of your offering. For Evelyn’s, an easy four-step process is displayed.

Step 1: Shop one of our virtual store locations.

Step 2: Receive an order confirmation text and email.

Step 3: Once your order is ready for pickup you will receive a text message alert.

Step 4: Within that text there is a link which can be clicked on once you arrive at the curb.

Related: 5 Ways To Promote Your eCommerce Virtual Store »

Display Live Product Data from Specific Store Locations

Once clicked, it alerts the store associate to deliver the package to the vehicle. This process is all thanks to Celerant’s curbside application, which I will show you a little later.

But first, let’s take a look at the virtual store. On Evelyn’s website, you can click easily here. Click to select your preferred store location.

In my case, I’ll select Mount Vernon. By selecting the Mount Vernon store location, the virtual store is now pulling the live product data from that specific store location, showing only the products that are currently available within that store.

How this works is that the product data along with the department structure is actually pulling in real-time from the point-of-sale database within that store and displaying it instantly on the virtual store, as you can see here.

Information Pulls from eCommerce Website

Let’s click on men’s Footwear. Now the virtual store is showing all of the sub departments within the men’s footwear department, let’s select basketball, since the data is pulling directly from the store’s database.

Every sneaker that you see on this page is currently available at the Mount Vernon store location, in Evelyn’s case the product images are simultaneously being pulled from their existing eCommerce site.

For any retailer who does not currently have an eCommerce site, your store associates can simply take product images and upload them directly from their smartphones.

Modifying Data at the Point of Sale

Let’s look at the Men’s Air Force One sneaker. Here, all of the available product data is made available to your customer. The long descriptions are also pulling from Evelyn’s main eCommerce site.

For retailers who don’t have eCommerce, these descriptions can be modified right within the stores point of sale. Your customers simply checkout as normal, and then select either curbside pickup or in-store pickup before submitting their payment.

In this case, only curbside pickup is made available by Evelyn’s.

Online Orders are just like In-Store Purchases

Orders completed on the virtual site are immediately closed out within the selected stores point of sale database, just as if the sale was completed within the physical store at the register.

That’s another big difference between a typical eCommerce site and the virtual store, as there is no back-office fulfillment process required within the software for these orders. Then as with all of your curbside orders, the order flows directly into the curbside application with a status of new and alerts your Mount Vernon store associates.

The store associates simply pick and prep the order and click ‘notify pickup is ready’ once they are ready. Simultaneously, a text message is then sent to your customer letting them know that their order is ready for pickup.

When they arrive outside your store, they simply click on the link within the text message, which then prompts a thank you letting them know your store associate is on their way, while also sending a text to your store associate letting them know the customers waiting at your curb.

After the order is delivered to the customer, your store associate can click to close out the order.

Virtual Stores Pull from Designated Locations

A retailer can have as many virtual stores as needed. You can choose to display a virtual store for each of your locations or only the specific store locations in which you want to provide the same day pickup.

The main difference between an eCommerce site and the new virtual store is that the virtual store is pulling the available product data from the selected stores point of sale database in real time. This allows the retailer to quickly display the store online, virtually, with little to no effort on their part since its pulling data directly from the point of sale.

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