According to Innovative Retail Technologies magazine, the top store-level hardware spending priority for 2016 is mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) hardware. The annual Retail Tech Spending Report also lists wireless networking as the most important software priority and customer experience management as a major focus for marketing and operations staff.
Taken together, these choices indicate that retail executives no longer see mobility at the point of sale (POS) as a nice-to-have technology. It's a must for organizations seeking increased profit margins and a better customer experience.
The mPOS landscape today
mPOS devices will handle over 20 percent of all retail transaction value around the world by 2021. While early adoption—especially for smaller merchants—focused primarily on card payments, more business owners now have mobility that extends beyond the cash register.
It's more common to see retail stores deploying mPOS throughout the store. That means that customers can check out wherever they are, and associates aren't limited by a fixed number of registers when stores are busy.
Despite the progress in the mPOS industry, there's always something new on the horizon. Here's what's coming soon from mPOS.
mPOS drives a personalized shopping experience
For retailers, standing out in a crowd can be difficult. Consumers today have so many buying options, from surfing the Web at home to evolving brick-and-mortar choices. But many buying decisions aren't based on price alone.
That's why business owners are looking for ways to personalize the in-store experience. By learning more about what individual consumers respond to and what they ignore, retailers gain specifics on each shopper.
Creating this optimal experience requires an open channel between the retailer and the customer. That's where mPOS comes in.
Using geolocation, sellers can send coupons, sale alerts, and discount codes to a customer's mobile device while the customer shops. Mobile solutions help build a profile for each consumer, one that's chock-full of information about previous purchases and personal preferences. Many in the industry see mPOS soon making it possible for a customer to scan a code and make a purchase using a linked bank account or credit card.
mPOS complements existing POS technology
Not every retailer wants (or needs) a fully mobile POS solution. But integrating mPOS with a traditional solution can give many retail stores an edge in creating a better customer experience.
For high-end sellers, that edge comes from using information about customer preferences to go the extra mile in locating the right size, color, or accessory.
For stores with large footprints, that edge means that associates can assist customers anywhere on the floor, rather than forcing them to return to a central service desk.
For retailers with loyalty programs, that edge means incorporating mobility to make it more convenient for customers to access rewards data every time they shop.
The future of mPOS in retail will include a variety of solutions. But the clear takeaway is that these systems must add value to every customer interaction to be considered a success.
What do you see happening next in retail mPOS?