Mobile Point of Sale (POS) systems have rocked the retail world and the trending topic when it comes to POS is all about the mobile kind. In fact, when one searches the term POS, nearly every article that comes up is all about mobile, and many seem to believe it will change the retail industry as we know it. Is traditional POS on its way out?
According to a recent white paper published by NCR, while mobile POS is indeed a hot topic, it is likely to be an enhancement, rather than a replacement, to traditional POS.
Nonetheless, there is definitely a need, and a place, for both. Not too long ago everyone was certain that dot.coms would eradicate brick-and-mortar stores; they are still alive and well. And, traditional brick-and-mortar stores have, like traditional POS, embraced the Internet and allowed it to serve them in the capacity of extension.
Retailers everywhere have incorporated the Internet into their business model by creating multi-channel sales strategies, such as e-commerce, digital marketing, social media marketing, online product information, specifications, reviews and online customer service.
In addition to their online presence, these same retailers have started to bring the Internet in-house by integrating such services as customer centric promotions at point of sale, introducing loyalty programs and member registration, facilitating digital signage, offering e-receipts via email, and self check out centers; all at the traditional POS kiosk. In fact, 95% of all sales transactions are conducted via traditional POS terminals.
So, why bother with mobile POS anyway?
While it is true that traditional POS systems won’t be going anywhere soon, and with good reason, mobile POS systems have allowed retailers to make great strides when it comes to efficiency and customer service, as well as customer satisfaction.
Since the advent of Mobile POS, companies like Nordstrom, Apple and Home Depot have made big changes in the way they handle customer transactions in-store, thus affording faster checkout, waiting line reduction, consultative selling, and more. For example, in Home Depot, mobile POS has enabled on the spot checkout processing and shipping of large, bulky or heavy items that cannot be lugged up to the checkout counter. When Nordstrom went mobile in 2011, the Seattle based retail chain saw a significant 15.3% increase in sales.
The list of mobile POS benefits goes on and on:
Storewide Promotion Opportunities: Mobile POS has allowed retailers to drive sales in various sections of the store by holding demonstrations or promotions in different departments to tout products or services. Customers can be marketed, and sold to, on the spot.
Inventory Return Stations: There is always a certain volume of returns, but that volume increases for retailers particularly after the holidays. The implementation of mobile POS allows for retailers to set up additional return stations in order to avoid long lines and customer frustrations.
Email Receipts: Better for the environment, more convenient for customers and faster to process, a digital purchase receipts sent via email tells the customer that you care about the earth and about them.
Optional Seasonal Subscription: The great thing about mobile POS is that you needn’t pay for a POS system year round if you’re not using it year around. Seasonal spikes in retail sales warrant the additional cost of extra POS licensing and hardware, but the rest of the year your budget shouldn’t need to encompass more than what is needed. Mobile lets you better manage your overall POS investment.
Expanded Reach: With mobile POS, your sales are no longer confined within the four walls of your brick and mortar store. Sidewalk sales, seasonal mall kiosks, and special sponsorship events are just a few examples of all the places you can take your retail sales to, with a POS in hand.
Mobile POS goes Mobile: Your investment in your company POS system doesn’t need to be one size fits all, regardless of store traffic volume in one location or another. Retailers may opt to have a blow out sale in one location, thus require additional checkout power for that location for a specific period of time. With mobile POS, devises and licensing can be utilized throughout different store locations on an as needed basis.
Inventory and Price Search: When customers can be assisted with finding an item color, size or availability on the spot, rather than having to wait in line to do so, it makes them happier. The same can be said for pricing. POS in the hands of store reps can go a long way toward customer satisfaction.
The growing industry of mobile payments doesn’t stop at in-store mobile POS. Digital wallets like Google Wallet and Apple Passbook, mobile-to-mobile cell phone transfers, Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, mobile device credit card swipe and other emerging technologies are quickly changing our cash and credit card world.
But what about traditional POS?
Mobile payment systems are indeed terrific. So, when should you consider going with traditional POS? The reality is, in addition to the aforementioned benefits of traditional checkout kiosk functions, there times when mobile POS simply will not suffice.
Mobile POS is great when a customer wants to choose and pay for one item while on the sales room floor, but what about when the customer has a multitude of items? Ringing up and bagging groceries, removing anti-theft mechanisms, neatly folding and bagging clothing items and managing the sales of numerous agents, stations or departments are just a few examples of situations that often require the traditional POS checkout station.
By combining traditional POS strategies with mobile POS flexibility, retailers can leverage the command of a complex, and multi-dimensional, marketing and retail sales management system.