Most people think about point-of-sale (POS) solutions in a retail or restaurant setting to handle cash or credit card transactions. There are so many other applications for POS systems beyond the cash register. With the boom in mobile technology, for example, networked POS solutions such as barcode readers and card scanners can be used for logging inventory or files, tracking packages, managing service calls, and more.
According to Intel, the leading markets for POS solution sales are retail SMB (61%), fine dining (54%), quick-service restaurants (50%), supermarkets (38%), and hospitality/lodging (29%). That seems obvious since they all use POS to handle routine consumer transactions. Those market segments that are less obvious for POS applications are healthcare (27%), field service (23%), warehouse/distribution (20%), government (16%), and education (13%). POS solutions are readily for applications such as inventory control, pricing, and even security. As the POS market becomes more fragmented there are more opportunities for VARs to market POS systems for specialized applications.
1. POS for Retail and Hospitality
Retail is clearly the largest market for POS systems. While you may consider retail to be a mature POS market, the fact is that retailers are being forced to upgrade and expand their old POS systems. The global market for POS solutions is expected to reach $79.69 billion by 2020, up from $36.86 billion in 2013. And North America remains the largest market for POS with 32% of global sales revenue. What’s driving POS sales are new technologies and new transaction standards.
Mobile POS software running on off-the-shelf mobile devices is being widely adopted by both retail and hospitality. The advantages are obvious: mobile POS makes it easier to answer questions on the sales floor, check inventory and pricing, and make on-the-spot sales with a simple card swipe. Consumers are even starting to use their own mobile apps for self-service sales. This means POS solutions have to be extended to encompass mobile, including both back-end transaction systems and secure wireless technology to connect POS systems to the network.
The pending deadline for EMV adoption is also driving POS upgrades. Effective October 2015, all credit card transactions will have to comply with the EMV integrated circuit card standard. That means that all POS systems using the old mag stripe card readers will have to be upgraded to accommodate the new EMV smartcards.
2. POS for Healthcare
Healthcare providers such as doctors’ offices and pharmacies are using POS systems for patient transactions and payment, but that’s only one application. POS solutions are being used for inventory tracking and electronic medical records (EMRs) as well.
POS solutions can be used to track inventory and automate billing. They also can be used to keep track of medical records and to match patient data. Barcodes are increasingly being used as part of patient admission to track treatments, specimens, prescriptions, and more. Using barcodes not only eliminates mistakes in patient care, it simplifies billing and insurance claims, and it helps support regulatory compliance for maintaining EMRs.
3. Manufacturing and Logistics
Manufacturing and transportation are the fastest growth markets for handheld POS scanners. ABI Research predicts that more than 6.3 million scanners will ship for non-retail applications. Most of these scanners are being used in manufacturing and logistics to track shipments, and for authentication and security. In all cases POS solutions are consolidating data gathered from handheld devices for both tracking and business analytics.
Anywhere that items need to be logged, sold, or tracked, POS technology can be applied to streamline and consolidate data gathering. The result is more vertical market sales opportunities for POS.