15 Jan 2024

Making omnichannel retail a reality: Why the future of POS is headless

Isabelle Watson Talon.One

Isabelle Watson

Content Lead

Customers and headless POS

5 minutes to read

Unifying offline and online experiences is often one of the toughest challenges facing retailers - but also one of the biggest opportunities. Both come with their own strengths: the flexibility of online commerce means endless opportunities for personalization, while in-store offers a unique, immersive experience. But with the right point-of-sale system, retailers can marry both, and finally make omnichannel retail a reality. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover:

The challenges of monolithic point-of-sale systems

A point-of-sale system refers to the hardware and software involved in helping customers purchase products. Many people associate POS solely with checkout or payment software, but a reliable and future-proofed POS system should consolidate various data sources, for example linking to your inventory, CRM, or promotion and loyalty software. This is key to accessing more precise customer data and gaining a better understanding of your customers and their spending patterns.

The POS market is highly diverse and segmented, with each solution offering different functionality. But the industry is also dominated by several large corporations, who offer legacy-led monolithic POS systems that make any customizations or additional functionality hard to integrate. This makes buying, integrating and maintaining point-of-sale systems a huge headache, particularly for enterprise companies with large networks of shops.

Challenges include: 

  • Vendor lock-in, making it extremely difficult, costly and time-intensive to transition to a new point-of-sale system. 

  • Legacy tech with limited functionality, particularly for forward-looking brands focusing on creating an omnichannel customer experience. This makes their promotional functionality both redundant and frustrating for customers if promotions can’t be redeemed in-store. 

  • Needing your vendor to make customisations, which takes time, money, or might never be done. 

  • Dealing with multiple POS vendors across countries and stores, all with their own functionality and drawbacks. 

  • Separate and often limited product and pricing syncs.

  • Time delays in coupon syncs, which exposes you to fraud. 

Modernizing the point-of-sale system

Because of the constraints from monolithic systems, there’s a growing trend to modernize the point-of-sale - with what Forrester calls a “new generation” of POS applications. “By judiciously exploiting cloud and mobile distributes data and functionality for secure reliability”, the point-of-sale goes “from transaction to experience”.

Forward-thinking brands in particular are turning to modular-based or headless POS solutions, and breaking out features such as reporting, price calculation and promotions from their monolithic POS. Companies can build their ideal POS stack from the ground up - adopting a best-of-breed approach to the products or vendors they shop from, and embedding scaleability and flexibility into their workflows.  

From a technical standpoint, a headless approach means decoupling the front-end (user interface) from the back-end (data management and processing) of the POS system. By decoupling the front- and back-end, a headless POS system enables easy integration with other systems and services, such as inventory management, CRM, analytics tools, promotion platforms and marketing automation platforms.

This ease of integration with other tools is one of the biggest benefits of a headless POS system, giving you the freedom to design and customize the user interface independently from the underlying system. This allows brands to create unique and tailored experiences for their customers, whether it's through mobile apps, web interfaces, or offline - and this agility is also key to being able to quickly respond to changing market trends and customer demands. 

Modernizing the point-of-sale system is crucial to being able to react to customers’ actions in real-time - immediately recognizing purchases, updating loyalty points or status, and ensuring the user is recognized & celebrated across channels. But the benefits of real-time also help avoid financial and reputational damage: namely fraud control by instantaneous redemption, ensuring only valid customers redeem offers, and immediately rolling back earned benefits for returned items. It also helps manage offline periods in-store, through locally-stored promotion data to validate during offline periods. 

It’s important to note that you can still deliver omnichannel experiences without replacing your existing POS: Talon.One offers offline solutions that make omnichannel a reality without the need for a big re-platforming.

POS integrations and omnichannel promotions with Talon.One 

As omnichannel becomes a bigger focus for our clients, we’ve worked on a range of different POS integrations to make omnichannel promotions a reality for them. Each integration is fully-customized to our clients’ needs and tech stack, meaning no two POS integration with Talon.One looks the same. However, they usually fall into one of three categories: 

  • A direct, native integration with the retailer’s frontend POS - like in the Twinset example below. 

  • Using a middleware service to call out to promotions service when an offer is scanned at the register. 

  • A bridge approach for receipt or app scanning, to earn & redeem points in-store 

So, what does this look like in practice? Here’s how we’ve done it for leading european retailer Twinset. 

Making omnichannel retail a reality for Twinset

Twinset is an accessible luxury womenswear brand, with a booming e-commerce business and close to 100 retail stores across Europe. The brand was looking to build a truly omnichannel strategy that unified their online and offline offerings, and turned to Talon.One to help with implementing omnichannel promotions. Twinset was looking for a solution that would:  

  • Remove the divide between in-store and online touchpoints, enabling customers to redeem their offers across the two. 

  • Integrate seamlessly into its tech stack, reacting to customers’ actions in real-time. 

  • Facilitate retail and e-commerce teams to take a holistic approach to promotions, operating as a team rather than two separate work units. 

Using Talon.One, Twinset was able to revamp its sales campaigns and finally start creating campaigns and promotions that could either be used online or within their physical shops. To make this happen from a system integration point of view, Talon.One needed to speak to different systems in Twinset’s tech stack:

  • Its retail frontend POS system, Oracle xstore 

  • Its backend system, to enable the labelling process

  • Its CRM system, to receive customer data and attributes

  • Its marketing automation system, to generate coupons

  • Its e-commerce system, to retrieve promotions and show the correct prices on the product landing pages

  • Its e-commerce order management system, to trigger redeeming gift cards

For Daniele Nigro, Chief Information Officer at Twinset, implementing a one-time set-up for omnichannel campaigns instead of separate set-ups for physical and digital channels has been a real game changer. 


"With Talon.One, we’ve massively reduced the time between deciding to run a promotion and delivering it in our shops or online. Now, when we decide to run a campaign, our retail and ecommerce teams sit together and select the target shops, digital platforms, products and the time‐frame. They set up the campaign in Talon.One and that’s it. It’s a fast and efficient way of implementing a campaign."


Daniele Nigro

Chief Information Officer of Twinset

Working with Talon.One also means Twinset has been able to remove at least two middleware from their operating system - not only saving dev time and on-going costs, but also increasing efficiency across the business.

Best practices for omnichannel retail success 

  • Identify current pitfalls with customer journey mapping: To start, map the customer journey at the point of sale across both your online and offline channels - for example, what does the member identification process look like online and within your stores, and how can shoppers view and redeem their vouchers both online and offline? This customer journey mapping will help you understand where your current solutions fall short, and where you might need new tools or integrations to support.

  • Avoid vendor lock-in: When buying new POS hardware, we highly recommend buying generic, off-the-shelf devices that are versatile and customizable - rather than being tied to any system or vendor.

  • Work with partners that prioritise API-first, headless solutions: Treat building your modular POS system as if you were doing a puzzle: begin with your high-impact corner and edge pieces and then continue putting the rest of the pieces together until you achieve your desired design. 

Keen to learn more about Talon.One’s omnichannel capabilities? Reach out to our team to discuss your use case. For further reading, head to our Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel Retail, including a step-by-step guide to developing a future-proof omnichanne strategy.

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Isabelle Watson

Loyalty & promotion expert at Talon.One

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