Magento Integration with Retail Star POS – What you Need to Know
Every so often, we come across a client who looking to integrate Magento Enterprise to their point of sale (POS) system. In most cases, the client does not have a central ERP solution to integrate with, but rather is using the POS system in place of ERP. And why not, it allows you to add product SKUs, track inventory, set individual pricing, and even manage some basic promotional pricing elements. For a small brick and mortar operation, it’s the perfect stand-alone solution. The challenge in these situations comes when you want to leverage the data in the POS system as the backbone of information your ecommerce site will run on. Most of the merchants we talk to about this want their POS system to feed near real time updates to the Ecommerce site (and vice versa) so that their onsite inventory is kept in balance between the multiple sales channels. This is especially true with merchants using CAM Commerce Solution’s Retail Star POS product. Retail Star is a strong, very functional POS solution. But until recently, integration with this solution could be limiting, so we wanted to share some of the things you should be looking to incorporate to make this integrated solution set successful.
In years past, you would integrate to Retail Star via the Data IX interface. We’ve found this approach to be very limiting as it does not support the model of configurable products or parent / child groupings of products that are typically found on Ecommerce sites (especially when apparel is involved). To use Data IX, each individual product option (think of a single shirt with sizes S, M, L, XL. Each of those sizes is a product option or style #) has to be its own unique SKU or style # for Retail Star to be able to map it. For a POS system, this is ok. You’re going to scan a bar code based on what the customer brings to the register. Each of the shirts is laid out and tagged and grouped by physical location. The customer doesn’t have to sort through multiple shelves to find a Medium sized shirt. For an ecommerce site, this is a nightmare because it can force you to present and list each size or style of a shirt as a unique product. This explodes your catalog, reduces usability and will come across to your customers as very 2001ish.
With the most current release of Retail Star (version 9.5), CAM has introduced a new product element called Data Bridge or ETL Star (http://www.camcommerce.com/contents/gear/etl-star.aspx). The write up on this solution appears promising, but keep in mind, it will likely require some professional services from CAM to implement and leverage this solution. That’s to be expected here. Integration to order management or ERP solutions requires some work on both ends of the integration bridge. So while we expect you’ll be able to achieve a more sophisticated and useful integration, your costs for implementation may be a little higher. But when compared to integration options using Data IX, we feel this is the best overall value for the typical Magento Enterprise Merchant.
If you’d like to talk to an expert at integrating POS solutions to Magento Enterprise, please feel free to reach out for more information.
Levementum is a certified Magento Solution Partner and Expert System Integrator of Magento Enterprise, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM.