As mobile POS deployments proliferate, how can retailers best use mobile functionalities while simultaneously protecting their investment in current POS solutions?

The simple answer is that retailers cannot protect their old “cash registers”. As with anything, to grow they must change and adapt. Tablets, along with kiosks, interactive digital media and various forms of self-checkout are what the future holds and are what will prevail in most retail environments. Customers are increasingly coming to expect an omni-channel experience from retailers, and the POS is no exception.

According to Forbes Magazine, “The traditional brick and mortar location remains at the heart of the retail operation, but many organizations may find that the technology running these locations is not up to the challenge.”

The Traditional POS Equates to a Missed Opportunity for Customer Engagement

The traditional POS equates to a missed opportunity for customer engagement, something that is imperative to the coveted cross-selling and up-selling desired by retailers. Offering promotions at the register when the customer is ready to pay and eager to leave is much less likely to result in a greater mean basket than enticing them to select additional items before they head for the cash. Finally, capturing data at the POS leads to longer queues, which are the single largest drivers of negative word-of-mouth. However, using the mobile POS to capture data and feed information back out to the customer DURING the sales process rather than AFTER actually improves the customer experience rather than creating a deterrent. The customer is happy because they are receiving personalized attention, and the retailer is happy because they are obtaining valuable information and improving service, two factors that are crucial in increasing customer retention and sales.

Customers are More Likely to Shop in Stores that Optimize their Experience-to-Value Ratio

As customers grow increasingly accustomed to making online purchases, their in-store expectations are changing accordingly. If brick-and-mortar retailers are to successfully compete with their online counterparts, they must offer customers incentives to visit their stores rather than purchase similar items from a website. Often short on time and looking to make the most sensible purchase, customers are more likely to shop in stores that optimize their experience-to-value ratio. While not yet ready to abandon in-store shopping in favor of strictly online purchasing, the speed and convenience of e-commerce presents an attractive option for time-starved customers. Why should they bother walking into your store if they can purchase a similar item online from one of your competitors? The answer is service.

The Traditional POS Served the Needs of the Retailer, the Mobile POS Must Serve the Needs of the Customer

Implement technology that promotes relationship-building, and customers will come. Remove cumbersome line-ups and missing inventory from the equation, and they will love you. Make it easy for them to buy from you, or they will buy from someone else. It seems simple enough, but many retailers today are reluctant to move away from what they know. That reluctance is costing them customers and sales. The POS of the future should improve the customer experience, promote consultative selling, and broaden the scope of where and what a retailer can sell. Retailers looking to evolve need to be on board with adopting a new type of POS.The traditional POS served the needs of the retailer; the mobile POS must serve the needs of the customer.