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 Chuck Schaeffer Top Performing Mobile Retail Technologies


Mobile Point of Sale

Mobile POS (mPOS) is another retail technology that has garnered attention from bricks and mortar retailers. mPOS most often uses a tablet or smartphone instead of a stationary point-of-sale terminal to complete the consumer purchase transaction.

According to research firm IHL Group, the mobile retail market reached $5.7 billion worldwide and the mobile POS market surpassed $2 billion in hardware and software sales in North America in 2013. This makes mobile POS one of the top retail IT investments.

The consumerization of retail IT is showing up from several vendors. The iPad with both free and fee-based apps has become a roaming POS system and the Microsoft Dynamics AX for retail solution uses the Surface tablet as a mobile POS that is fully integrated with back office ERP as well as omni-channel CRM communications.

IMHO, the top objective and benefit of mobile POS is to enhance the retail experience by engaging consumers, personalizing the consumer interaction and just delivering a more rewarding consumer experience.

Mobile POS can also help start-up or expansion mode retailers perform POS transactions without investing in fixed location cash registers, allow sales associates to roam the floor and engage consumers near the place of product consideration, shorten check-out lines, use product lookup (by location) to perform "save the sale" processes, support special orders for out of stock or custom items, increase table turns, reduce front-of-house or cashier staffing, email paperless invoices, accommodate peak demand or customer influxes more easily and act as a tool to deter shopper showrooming.

But mobile POS can’t exist in a vacuum, so access to related systems such as CRM, inventory management, merchandise returns, asset tracking, promotions management, price marking, merchandising applications and possibly field service are needed to support common business use cases, make the technology sustainable and earn a payback on your investment.

While easy to adopt, merchants must recognize the many data privacy and information security safeguards. PCI compliance, point-to-point encryption, the storage of the cardholder personal account number (PAN), cardholder verification methods and special considerations for EMV chip transactions are but a few of the data custodianship responsibilities that must be iron clad before mobile point of sale can become a reality.

Hand in glove with mobile point of sale is mobile payment processing. While the two retail technologies are symbiotic they may be adopted together or separately.

According to the Juniper Research report, titled Mobile Payment for Digital and Physical Goods, mobile retail payments are forecast to grow from $182 billion in 2013 to $707 billion in 2018. That's some big growth. The Gallagher Consulting Group research puts this market figure into perspective by reporting that half of today's smartphone users will be using mobile wallets as their preferred payments method by 2018. Retailers will obviously need to support these consumers payment preferences if they expect to earn their business.

But like many mobile and retail technologies, merchants face a vast number of digital payment choices.

Mobile credit card readers such as Square Register, Intuit GoPayment, PayPal Here and a slew of followers simply plug into the mobile device's audio jack to perform payment processing. Technology companies such as Google has been offering its Google Wallet Mobile App since 2011, and uptake has been slow but consistently rising. Analyst firm Gartner projects mobile apps and in-application purchases will incur double digit growth.

When trying to make the best decision among a high number of technology options, it's important to first know what your customers prefer — which can be understood with a Voice of the Customer analysis — and then to solidify your business objectives. These two prerequisites will then put the technology choices into persepctive.

According to Boston Retail Partners, 52% of retailers plan to implement mobile POS and payment processing in the next two years. The most cited objectives by these retailers included saving floor space, improving customer service, reacting in real time with offers and promotions, saving sales by checking product availability and location even if the products are not available in the floor and creating multiple checkout points at the point of interaction. These objectives might be a good starting point for other retailers planning their mobile POS and payment processing journey.

Next - The Call for Retail Mobility >>

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The top objective and benefit of mobile POS is to enhance the retail experience by engaging consumers, personalizing the consumer interaction and just delivering a more rewarding consumer experience.



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