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While few would question that mobile POS is an inevitable future for POS systems in an increasingly wireless and IoT-friendly world, actual adoption of the technology has been behind expectations. A recent study by HP indicates that only three percent of enterprise merchants have fully signed on to mPOS deployment, but 86 percent are planning or piloting the technology. Customers looking for replicated online experiences in brick-and-mortar stores will eventually push retailers to get on board, but not before they grapple with the challenges and embrace the possibilities of mPOS solutions.
But what does mPOS even entail? What can it truly do for your customers that their current, traditional POS system can’t?
Beyond the mobility of an mPOS unit, there are plenty of other advantages to upgrading to a new mobile point of sale system.
Changing the Retail Experience
Standing in long lines to check out will be a thing of the past. Customers will be able to pay for their purchases wherever they are and whenever they are ready. An associate with an mPOS system can ideally scan items and take a payment on the fly, while also creating more opportunities for an associate to upsell. “Hey, those earrings will go great with this, don’t you think?” During busy seasons, a representative able to take someone to a product and check them out in the same encounter can get a frantic holiday shopper on their way quickly.
Bringing “Retail” Capabilities Anywhere
Non-conventional sales environments (farmers markets, flea markets, home-based businesses, and more) can process transactions and accept mobile payments like a standard retail store.
Altering the Retail Layout
mPOS systems can eliminate most, if not all, checkout lanes, freeing up space for more merchandise, promotional opportunities and areas that could be used for customer demonstrations. Additional customer engagement opportunities also exist…rather than tell someone a size/style is out of stock and hope they buy it online from your website at home or visit a sister store, the associate could get the business and complete the transaction (with ship-to-store or home options) in the moment.
Flexible Payment Options
Customers have a variety of payment possibilities available and while most retail websites can indulge them, physical retailers tend to lag behind. A good mPOS system will include options to accept mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) or EMV-enabled cards and possibly integrate loyalty programs into the mix.
The challenges that may be holding some retailers back from adopting mPOS?
Adding mPOS to an existing POS set up can mean headaches in payment processing, additional equipment, clashing systems with different operating systems and more. Time and expense are key factors here and adopters will need to create a plan of action with a VAR and/or vendor to implement and upgrade current systems as needed to accommodate.
A typical mPOS system may not include a mobile printer and if it does, it could make the whole thing cumbersome or add one more piece of gear to carry around. For customers that insist on paper receipts, additional printers may need to be placed throughout the store to provide receipts without straying too far from the customer.
Of course, all mobile units need power, and a busy day on the floor could tap an mPOS device quickly. Backups or hot swap batteries will be necessary and employees will need to be careful to swap out before the risk of losing power in the midst of an employee interaction or transaction.
An effective mPOS system will require strong internet connectivity, mobile device management solutions and stations for charging and securing devices. The potential for theft or hacking of mobile devices can also make an adopter nervous, so proper measures will need to be taken to protect the integrity of the devices and the data they transmit.
Overall, the benefits of adopting mPOS outweigh the startup costs and changes to infrastructure required to implement, like most innovations in retail technology. End user businesses will turn to VARs and their vendors for assistance in making the transition smooth and as painless as possible. It’s important for you to be able to lay out the facts for your customers, on both sides of the fence. Your customers will appreciate knowing what they’re truly getting into, and you can brace them for both the benefits and the complications to come if they choose to upgrade.