A new trend in electronic sales is the concept of Mobile Point of Sale (or mPOS). mPOS is defined as “a smartphone, tablet or dedicated wireless device that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic point of sale terminal (www.techtarget.com).” All the consumer needs is a mobile app and a cell phone or tablet to perform the function of traditional point of sale terminals (POS) that are used in restaurants and shops. Other hardware used to complete a financial transaction can include a credit card reader, a scanner to scan barcodes, and a drawer for cash.
How Does mPOS Benefit the Consumer Experience?
Based on research done by Winter Green Research, the sale of handheld Point of Sale units was $1.1 billion in 2011. By 2018, it is projected to reach $3.1 billion. Compared to traditional Point of Sale terminals, mPOS’s have a lot more flexibility while providing for wireless communication to the retailer’s network.
In bygone years BC (Before Computers), cash was extended to pay for goods and services. Money was counted and totaled to be entered manually into paper ledgers, and later into spreadsheets and software like QuickBooks. Point of Sale and especially mobile Point of Sale has created a paradigm shift of tremendous proportions.
When you talk about mPOS, you are really talking about hardware AND software. The hardware is usually a tablet like an iPad or Android device. It can easily handle customer transactions while maintaining a smaller footprint than a bulky cash register. Devices such as these run native apps; that means they are native to the operating system of the device.
Contrast that with software running on the cloud. Businesses that want to appeal to users of all sorts of mobile devices prefer cloud software because the computing is all done on the remote server. All the business needs is a browser and the internet connection. However, that does present a challenge if the business’s internet goes down while apps running on mobile devices can usually complete the transactions. It also depends on the type of business that you operate. If the business is totally self-contained in one location, then it would only need wifi. However, if the business has a delivery service or performs services at other locations, it also needs a data plan from a good cell phone provider.
The key to mPOS is mobility and flexibility; the shopkeeper can complete a transaction on her sophisticated system from a stationary position, on the counter, or around the store. This personalized service can help make the transaction a more pleasing experience for the customer.
Mobile POS, especially mPOS software, was designed to help you run an efficient business. In thousands of businesses, it helps business owners to provide excellent customer service while completing fast and secure transactions. In addition, mobile POS software has the capability to help business owners understand how their sales performance is and also help to manage employee scheduling and inventory management.
How mPOS is Employed
One new trend is for a sales associate to accompany a customer around the store, all the time providing up-to-date information for what the customer is interested in. One side benefit to this “roaming” by the sale associate is to put potential shoplifters on notice that employees are actively engaged with their surroundings.
After you have enjoyed a nice meal, you want to be able to pay and leave and not wait for the transaction to be completed elsewhere. If your restaurant uses a device that can process the credit card transaction in view of the customer and produces a receipt too, that will help ensure a good customer experience. Needless to say, it can also cut down on employee fraud and increase employee productivity.
If you are not exactly sure what hardware and software are best for your specific business, contact the Retailers Solutions Providers Association. It can help you obtain knowledge about mPOS and help you establish connections with potential hardware and software vendors.