The eCommerce industry is currently worth $2.3 trillion and is set to nearly double to 4.48 trillion by 2020. If you’re deciding to upgrade your eCommerce software to ensure you’re getting the largest possible slice of the pie, well we’re pleased to say that you’re making a very smart move.

But choosing the best eCommerce software is not as straightforward as it seems. In fact, it is actually one of the most important decisions that you make very early on in your eCommerce journey.


Why selecting the RIGHT eCommerce platform matters for your business

Building an eCommerce business is more than just simply putting up your product listings on the web. It is far more complicated than you actually imagine. Just like running a physical retail, or a production facility, the same level of strategic thinking and planning also goes into building and running your eCommerce business.

And if you get this fundamental spot on, then you can take advantage of the digital environment where you can automate and streamline many of the tasks and activities that would have required human intervention.

But when it comes to selecting an eCommerce platform, you have to remember that your eCommerce site will dictate the following 4 things:

  • Growth: How quickly your business is able to grow?
  • Running costs: This includes the cost of building your eCommerce platform and ongoing development and maintenance costs.
  • Customer engagement: How you can control how your customers interact with your business.
  • Objectives: The right eCommerce platform will enable you to deliver the service you set out to achieve.

It is important for us to point out that many eCommerce vendors tend to focus on “skin” deep issues like design, UX branding and content. But the real eCommerce issues are found within the business process, customer engagement and lead generation. All these processes can help you determine whether you’re making a healthy ROI on your eCommerce platform.




What is a CMS Platform?

A Content Management System platform is a piece of software that allows you to easily manage content and create a website.

Normally, web pages are written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS programming languages. If you were to build a website without a CMS platform, then you would need to learn these languages and write a lot of code.

CMS platforms solve this problem by allowing you to make a website without writing code or learning programming.

Unless of course, you’re looking for a developer-friendly CMS which means you already know how to code.

How to Choose the Best CMS Platform for Your Website

There are lots of different CMS platforms out there, so which one should you pick? Before you we jump to our CMS platform comparison, here is what you should look for in a good CMS.

Ease of use

You want a CMS that makes it easy for you to create and edit content. This often means having a drag and drop interface, so you can add different elements on your pages.

It should be quick and straightforward for you to make changes to the content on your site after publishing it.

Design options

Your CMS software should offer you plenty of website design templates to choose from. It should also allow you to easily customize those designs to your own requirements (ideally without writing code).

Data portability

A great CMS platform should have tools for you to easily export your data and move it elsewhere.

For instance, you may later decide to choose a different platform or a different hosting company. Data portability makes it easier for you to move around with complete freedom.

Extensions and addons

Not all websites are the same. This is why it is impossible for any CMS platform to come with all the features that would fulfill requirements for every website.

Extensions and addons fix that problem. These are separate software that you can just install on your CMS software to extend its features and add new ones when needed. Think of them as apps for your CMS platform.

Help and support options

Although CMS platforms aim to make building a website as straightforward as possible, you still might have some questions. Find out what help and support is available if you get stuck.

Some CMS providers will have a handful of FAQs and a customer service team that’s painfully slow to respond. Others will have a big supportive community that can help you any time of the day or night.

How much does it cost?

Some CMS platforms are completely free. Others charge a monthly fee. Even with free CMS platforms, you’ll often need to pay for third-party extensions, designs, and/or web hosting services.

Try to find out as much as you can about the pricing before you choose your CMS, so you don’t have any nasty surprises.


Retail POS

Mobile POS

Whether you are setting up a retail business for the very first time, or you are an experienced merchant, having the right POS is essential for your success. Your POS, or Point-of Sale system is the central component of your business, and much more than just a way for customers to pay for their purchases. A great POS system can merge and simplify crucial business operations as well as providing you with a steady stream of data which you can use make informed business decisions. Some of the capabilities of a quality POS system include:

  • Inventory management
  • Accounting
  • Employee management
  • Customer management
  • Sales reporting

However, with many different POS systems out there, how do you know which is right for your retail business? Whether you are looking for your first POS system or looking to upgrade to a new and improved one, finding the perfect solution needn’t be a headache. Here is our guide to the 10 things that you should consider when choosing a retail POS.

1. Set-up cost and compatibility with your hardware

While the running costs of a great POS are relatively low, the initial costs to get set up may be more than you expect. Not only do you have to invest in the software, but unless your chosen POS is compatible with your current hardware, you may have to invest a considerable amount in new cash drawers, barcode scanners and more. Here at Hike, we know that your initial investment can be a scary prospect, so we have created a range of affordable hardware packages that encompass everything that you need to get started.

2. What features do you need?

POS systems can be used in many different businesses, from cafés and salons to gyms and retail stores. As a retailer, the features that your business needs may be somewhat different to many other merchants that may require a POS. As such, you need to be sure that the system you choose has the right features to make your business a roaring success. Before you start looking around, make a list of what you need most from your future POS and use this as the basis for your search.

3. Decide if you want a cloud-based POS system

An increasing number of businesses are switching over to cloud-based POS systems. Unlike conventional POS software, which was all based on servers either at your physical location or somewhere else belonging to your company, cloud-based software stores all of your data in the cloud – a digital space that can be access anytime, anywhere, all you need is an internet connection.

Some people who are new to the concept of the cloud worry about security. The truth is that data secured on the cloud is encrypted, and then the responsibility of the system service provider. Since they protect the data for so many different users, they invest heavily in the greatest security possible, which is usually far beyond the affordability of an individual company.

4. The usability of your chosen POS

No business can afford to invest in a system that is impossible to use, so choosing one that is simple to operate and can be used day to day without a constant need to refer to the manual is essential if you are to remain as productive as possible. This is particularly important in fast-paced environments or in stores that have a higher turnover of staff than usual.

A great, usable POS is actually important in the satisfaction of your staff at work too. It can be incredibly frustrating spending your days trying to use a complex and difficult system, particularly if it causes you to feel under pressure at work. Therefore, a great, usable POS may help your staff retention figures and prevent customers from a bad experience at the register.

5. Simple training procedures

Retails is renowned for its high staff turnover rate, particularly during the Christmas season when temporary staff are often added to the business to cope with demand. Unfortunately, extensive training is a serious drain on company resources as experienced staff taken off of their usual roles to educate and demonstrate to newer team members.

However, by choosing a retail POS that is very user friendly and offers plenty of training resources, you can streamline the training process and get your new staff up to speed in no time. When you select Hike as your retail POS, you will have access to an entire library of training articles and videos designed specifically to get your new employees fully trained on our technology in super-fast time.

6. Supporting business growth

While you may be content with just one bricks and mortar store for now, there is no telling how well or how quickly your business may grow. Unfortunately, some POS systems restrict the number of outlets and registers that can used, meaning that there is a limit to how far your business can grow before you need to invest a considerable sum in a brand-new POS that can accommodate your expansion.

The good news is that Hike’s cloud-based POS can support any number of outlets and registers, enabling us to support your company success from the very beginning. Even better, adding them is as simple as clicking and button and being on the cloud mean that there are no networking costs. Once all of your outlets and registers are enabled, the single central dashboard lets you see your data every which way you need, across your entire retail empire.

7. Inventory Tracking

Conventional inventory control can be a complex and time-consuming process, but thankfully, most POS systems can make managing your stock a much simpler task. This is especially important if you have multiples branches or warehouses as information about current stock, incoming stock and stock at other retail locations are needed for your daily operation. However, a good POS will do more than just track your inventory. Many now offer options such as purchase order creation, re-stock reminders and stock transfer between locations.

We highly recommend that you choose a POS that has strong inventory capabilities. Hike’s POS offers retailers the option to add an unlimited number of product lines and variations, meaning that you can expand your selection as and when you need to at no extra cost. Real-time updates on your stock management enable your staff to have the inventory information they need at their fingertips when they need it most.

8. Integration with third party software

Although the software that comes with a quality POS system should offer you an abundance of great and useful features, you should also consider the way that it integrates with third party software as this could further streamline your operations.

Integrations can save a lot of manpower in terms of double or even triple entries, and instead mean that all of your customer data, accounting information or sales figures are stored in one central system and any updates need to be performed just for the change to filter through and be visible in all of your third-party software. For example, if your POS integrates with your marketing software, you will be able to take your customer data from your main system and use it to send personalized emails and offers. Alternatively, your POS could integrate with your eCommerce store, centralizing all orders and stock figures.

Third party integrations can dramatically help simplify many day to day business processes, so when you choose a POS system, check what integrations area available. Here at Hike, we know how important integrations are to our successful customers and are pleased to offer integrations with a wide range of different partners including Xero, Quickbooks, Shopify, Bigcommerce, Woocommerce and Mailchimp.

9. Reporting

For your business to be successful you need to understand it as well as possible. This means having access to the data that will empower you to make the right decisions. Big data may be something of a buzzword, but there is no doubting that it helps retailers get results. The more reporting options that your chosen POS can offer, the deeper you can drill down to get the specific information you need to have full awareness of your business. Using this, you can do more of what is going well, and less of what is not!

10. Customer Support

When you choose a POS system, you aren’t just buying into a software, you are also entering into a relationship with a provider who can support the long-term success of your business. One of the most important services that a great POS provider can offer is excellent customer support.

Even if your POS is easy to install and implement and straightforward to operate, there will still be times that you may need the support and advice of a professional who understands everything that there is to know about your system. POS problems cost a retailer time and money and having someone with the knowledge and skill on hand to help you overcome any glitches is crucial for your bottom line. Therefore, when you are searching for a new POS system partner, you should carefully check out what support they can offer.

The retail landscape has changed tremendously during the last few decades, with stores now being open far beyond the regular 9-5. As such, you also need to be sure that you can get the advice and support you need when you need it the most. Here at Hike, we recognize that consumers expect a seamless purchasing experience whenever they choose to shop. For this reason, when you choose our POS you will have the benefit of access to email and live chat support from our experienced and highly trained staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will also be given access to an extensive library of user guides and video tutorials which enable complete training without the need to pull an existing staff member from their role.

We want your retail business to succeed as much as you do, but to do this, you need to commit to a POS software that suits your unique needs. At Hike, we treat all of our partners with the personalization that they deserve to ensure that they get exactly what they need from their retail business. Contact us today to find out more about our cutting edge POS technology and how it can help improve the outlook of your company.

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