It’s unusual to talk to a retail business or hospitality firm today that isn’t planning to implement or hasn’t already implemented mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology to serve their customers away from a fixed terminal. And that’s because several industry drivers are making the tech invaluable.
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From my assessment of the market, there are four key reasons I think mobile point of sale continues to hit the right notes across retail and its adjacent markets. Here’s my take, which should give VARs enough justification to encourage their customers to invest in this technology:
- Compelling CX Above All Else
Retail boards around the world are continually saying they are focused, above everything else, on delivering a suitable, relevant and enjoyable customer experience (CX), to ensure they gain repeat business and therefore drive up lifetime value from consumers.In the pre-digital retail world there was always a pressure to keep customers happy, but there is now more urgency to deliver the perfect experience because there are so many alternative locations from which consumers can locate and purchase goods. Room for error has effectively been squeezed because if people don’t like the service they are provided, they can just head to Amazon in a flash.Against this backdrop, mobile point of sale can be a saviour. Most customer angst in a store comes from out-of-stock products, queues or bad service, but mPOS technology can help businesses avoid all of these situations.It can be used by store associates to locate and order inventory from an alternative location if a customer’s desired item in not stocked in their shop; it enables staff to serve people in the aisles, thus making queues redundant; and it is a device retailers can use to guide sales and showcase expertise.
- Changing Role of the Store
In retail technology circles software as a service is en vogue. But my argument is that we’re also seeing the rise of the store as a service.From everyday items to big-ticket purchases, so many products are easily available to purchase online, meaning stores must emphasise their points of difference and their raison d’etre in order to drive customer traffic and consequent sales. One of the stand-out functions of a store is its capacity to provide in-depth advice and consultancy from product experts, and mPOS can aid this process if it is linked to wider inventory information, product videos, customer history and the like.Stores are not just sheds for stocking product any more. They represent the stages on which retailers can showcase their talents, and mobile point of sale can be one of their crowd-pleasing instruments.
- Trendy Technology Sells
One thing we’ve all learned from the increasingly digital world is that image matters to people. As evidenced by the rise of the selfie generation and the ‘look-at-me’ attitude prevalent on social media, everyone these days seems to want to present themselves in the best possible light.For stores operating in such a world, there’s no place for old, unreliable technology. By using tablet devices to serve customers and showcase wider inventory to these shoppers – or in the hospitality space, to take table bookings or process an order – businesses are displaying their modernity and proving themselves part of the shiny, tech-savvy generation.
- Bricks and Clicks Combine
If CX is the buzz phrase most regularly refenced by the retail c-suite, then omnichannel preparedness is arguably not far behind.As traditional retailers and hospitality companies build their online commerce capabilities, and digital-first players increasingly develop physical locations from which to engage with customers, the key to success is in integrating all channels and maintaining a single view of operations across them.Mobile point of sale software enables businesses to achieve this, and better still, its accessibility on a tablet device means they can access this information at a crucial point in the selling process, thus using it to upsell, cross-sell or order from a different store or warehouse.There can’t be many retail or hospitality organisations not impacted by these four trends, and that is why VARs operating in the space should be talking up the merits of mPOS at every given opportunity