A marked change is coming in the way POS (point-of-sale) services will be conducted, fueled by the exponential growth of the mobile phone and tablet as the primary source for product information, comparison-shopping, and reviews of businesses, merchants, and products. This revolution is providing new ways for both consumers and businesses to interact with one another, and is forcing a change in how POS leverages this technology.
In the white paper “The Future of POS: Point of Sale Evolution and its Impacts,” author Scott Ellison, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Head of Market Intelligence, presents a compelling analysis of the direction and changes coming to POS, as current and emerging technologies begin to coalesce and create new, data-driven, business models.
According to Mr. Ellison, the evolution of POS “…will focus on the broader needs of merchants beyond POS, including integration of in-store sensors and mobile devices to drive customer/product interactions, and back-office systems like inventory and supply chain management…” As back-office systems and POS become increasingly linked and dependent on one another, SMBs, merchants, and service providers will be able to interact with customers and clients on increasingly personalized levels.
While several forces will shape these changes, the projected impact over the next three to five years indicates a tremendous opportunity for merchants, including lowering or eliminating some of the costs associated with older POS processes. Through the integration of tablet-based systems, sales personnel will be able to identify the preferences, habits, and needs of consumers, which in turn will increase opportunities for successful up- and cross-selling, while at the same time improve customer satisfaction and provide a more rewarding shopping experience.
The emerging ability of POS to capture significant data will lay the foundation for improved marketing strategies before, during, and after purchase. The ability to integrate merchant services with in-store mobile services will, according to Mr. Ellison, “create effective countering to online competitors, and even drive foot traffic into merchant locations.”
Those best positioned to take advantage of these emerging POS advancements will be those who are the first to integrate it into their business model. In addition to early adoption, merchants must also be willing to rely on strategic thinking to anticipate the innovative opportunities, and focus on using POS to create a customer shopping experience that is both personalized and relevant, including loyalty points, coupons, and cross-selling suggestions based on the collected data.
Ellison, Scott. “The Future of POS: Point of Sale Evolution and its Impacts”. Pay-Pal, Inc. (US). 2013.