The point of sale is the engine room of every store, where the transactional business of retail takes place. It’s also often the only point at which there is any direct engagement with the shopper. The point of sale is traditionally a fixed counter, with the onus on the shopper to make their way to where the store wants them to transact. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we explore how mobile POS ‘untethers’ the point of sale, allowing it to go out into the store, and even beyond the four walls.
The traditional point of sale counter is a fixed desk within the store, complete with point of sale terminal* running the pos retail software, cash drawer, scanner, payment terminal and receipt printer. Mobile POS, on the other hand consists of a lightweight and portable device – which could be a tablet, a mobile computer or even a smartphone – which runs the same POS retail software as its larger, counter-based cousins.
The mobile POS device will usually incorporate a built in scanner and a contactless payment card reader. It may also be used with a mobile receipt printer – however, with a growing number of customers preferring to receive digital receipts (42%**, compared with 34% who prefer paper), many retailers now implement mobile POS without feeling the need to offer a printed receipt option.
Mobile POS is not new technology, but with the growing focus on customer experience, its presence has become ever-more prevalent, and the market is still growing apace. The value of transactions on mobile POS is forecast to reach US3.3 trillion in 2023+, and to grow at 14% to $5.58 trillion by 2027.
The reason for the continuing surge in mobile POS is its ability to transform the retail store in a range of ways:
Mobile POS has a wide range of uses – leading to greater customer engagement, staff getting to do more of what they enjoy, and increased sales and revenue.
What functions does a mobile POS have?
A mobile POS can have the same functionality as the counter point of sale, or more. It can check customers out, taking their payment and sending a receipt. It can allow customers to use their loyalty points, just as at the fixed POS. It can be connected to the inventory system, so that the associate can see what stock is in the warehouse or other stores, and even order the customer’s goods for later collection or online delivery.
Why do customers like mobile POS?
Mobile POS changes the dynamic between the customer and the store. With fixed POS, the customer has to go to where the retailer decides they will complete their transaction. With mobile POS, the checkout goes to the customer, putting them in charge. It also allows more flexible omnichannel shopping options, such as curbside pickup. Finally, they love being able to get great advice and guidance from store staff with all the answers literally at their fingertips.
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