In the digital age, retail point of sale (POS) solutions have gone through a makeover. Nowadays, it’s common to see sales associates use a smartphone, tablet or scanner to process a sale before the customer gets to the cash register. Note: This post was originally published in 2013, but for the majority of retailers still using legacy systems in 2017, the trends discussed here are just the beginning of what makes the difference between what traditional retailers are still using, and where they should be.
That’s just the tip of the retail POS system iceberg. Here’s a look at four of the top trends changing traditional retail POS systems and, ultimately, the retail landscape.
1. More ways to capture customer data: Retail POS systems
are becoming smarter in the sense of being able to gather customer information and associate it with a sale. Retail POS software can prompt sales associates to enter a customer’s demographic information, like ZIP code, phone number, age range or gender. Also, a retail POS system can be prompted to gather only certain customer information when a specific product is purchased. If the sales associate is not able to ask the customer for more specific information, the retail POS solution can still link a customer’s demographic information to a sale.
2. Mobile POS solutions gain popularity:
As more retailers look to apply mobile retail POS solutions in their stores, they still must determine if mobile POS is the best alternative for their checkout process. For example, you could process a sale on your mobile phone, but the mobile POS system is likely operating with its own POS system and not integrated with the rest of your retail POS devices or backend systems.
You also need to consider how your mobile POS system will process credit cards, record a customer’s signature to authorize transactions or deliver receipts. Can your smartphone touchscreen record a customer signature? Should your smartphone connect to a printer to produce a receipt or only offer an email receipt option to the customer? These are just some of the factors retailers need to consider before implementing a mobile POS system.
3. Using your retail POS solution online or offline:
With an online POS system, a sales transaction is processed through a central system. When a POS system rings up a handful of items, the register is actually communicating with the central system. The central system relays the product information, price and different information back to the store’s individual retail POS system.
An offline POS system is self-contained, meaning it can operate without any type of connection. If it can’t connect to the central system for any reason, it can still complete a sale.
An online or offline POS system will naturally lean toward specific situations. For example, let’s say you want to sell your product at a convention. You can’t bring your central POS system on-site, so your retail POS system must be self-contained. However, the biggest drawback to an offline POS system is that it may not know the inventory at different locations as reliably as an online POS system would.
Some retailers want to implement a mobile POS solution into their stores for convenience. Maybe you want your sales associates to interact more with customers as a way to improve customer service. Tablets or smartphones can help them process a sale without the customer going through a checkout line. This would be beneficial for higher-end retailers that want their customers to be comfortable on a couch rather than waiting at a sales counter.
4. Flexibility to process special orders:About Us
Instead of the traditional workflow of a sales transaction, which involves scanning an item, ringing up the price and obtaining payment from a customer, a retail POS system can accommodate various workflows. For example, how should the retailer complete the sale when a customer orders a product online but needs to pay for it in the store? Or maybe the customer paid for a product online but wants to pick it up in the store — now the central POS system needs to know the payment status of the order, when the product was delivered and when the customer picked it up.
These are just some of the top trends changing retail point of sale systems and what retailers should look for as they adapt in an ever-changing retail landscape.
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Author: Wm. Matthew Street