Is mPOS the future of retail?

July 15, 2014

Modern point-of-sale technology has progressed from the cash register to the full-service point-of-sale system, but is it about to progress once more? Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) systems seem to be poised to become the next step in the evolution of merchant technology.

Why? mPOS blends the functionality of the POS system with the mobility, familiarity, and speed of tablet and smartphone platforms. The result: merchants can take their selling power to the floor and engage customers anywhere rather than just at the checkout aisle.

We’ve already discussed the advantages of using mPOS systems in restaurants, but what about the trend in other industries?

mPOS and omnichannel retailing

Omnichannel is the prevailing goal of the retail industry. It seeks to blend the multiple shopping channels, such as in-store, mobile online, and computer, into a single customer experience. How does mPOS promise to deliver on this goal?

By empowering the employee. mPOS-equipped sales associates or customer service associates can bring the full power of the POS system onto the sales floor and directly to the customer. This allows them to access the in-store and online inventories, pricing information, estimated restock times, and other business data in real time in order to answer customer questions on the spot.

mPOS systems also give your employees access to customer loyalty information, which is invaluable for engaging customers in a meaningful way. If your sales staff can identify repeat customers, they can tap into purchase histories to suggest items and influence their customer service approach. These CRM capabilities greatly expand the ways in which your staff can engage your customers and, as a result, the customer loyalty your business enjoys.

Additionally, mPOS systems enable sales associates to process transactions on the floor, reducing the strain on checkout aisles. Smaller checkout lines, bigger bottom lines.

So why isn’t everyone using mPOS already?

Unfortunately, there’s some resistance to mPOS because many merchants don’t yet understand its utility. There’s a notion that mPOS systems are little more than card swipers, suited to flea markets and conventions, but not SMB use.

The truth is that mPOS systems have a great deal of potential as complete, integrated systems rather than just point-of-sale devices. They bring together POS, CRM, and business data like inventory and pricing. In short, they do most of what traditional POS systems do, but in a more compact and portable package.

Are there downsides to mPOS?

Well, yes. No system, including mPOS, is perfect. The most immediate downside to mPOS systems is really more of a limitation of the equipment on which it depends. Peripherals like scales, printers, and scanners are still bound by size and weight constraints (although printers and scanners are becoming more compact and may one day be integrated into dedicated mPOS platforms). This means that taking mPOS systems onto the floor will require leaving some of the hardware behind.

However, merchants need to remember the applications of mPOS systems. The best use for a portable and compact POS system is not to bring the entire point-of-sale suite to every location in the store. Rather, it is to better equip employees by giving them the most relevant elements of that suite to take onto the floor and engage customers.

Additionally, mPOS systems are easily mounted so they can function like traditional POS systems when the need arises. This approach to POS stations is more cost-efficient than the traditional approach because it eliminates a significant portion of the expense of the core device: the computer. This introduces entirely new possibilities as well. For example, a business with a multi-station customer service desk might allow customer service representatives to detach mPOS systems from their mounts in order to take customers onto the floor and offer detailed, personalized answers to questions and concerns.

Interested in joining the mPOS trend?

HMS offers mPOS systems as part of our credit card processing program. We supply the tools your business needs to reach its potential. Contact a sales representative for more information:
[email protected]
877-517-HOST (4678)

Call us today and let us find the mPOS system that helps your business succeed!

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