Mobile point-of-sale technology is transforming retail.
With mPOS, in-store salespeople can check back-room inventory while they’re in the aisle with a customer. If an item isn’t in stock, they can easily direct the customer to a nearby store that carries it or place an online order for the customer on the spot.
Today’s mPOS systems can also provide salespeople with useful information about repeat customers, such as their eligibility for special promotions or discounts. Add beacon technology, and you can detect when a customer is lingering in front of a particular display and automatically send him a context-specific coupon to encourage a purchase.
Plus, over time, mPOS systems accumulate extremely valuable data that can be analyzed to uncover rich, actionable insights into customer behavior and trends.
These diverse capabilities empower retailers to increase sales, build customer loyalty and maximize brand power. They also enable new employees to quickly become more effective. That’s a big plus in a business where employee turnover can be high and seasonal lead times can be short.
In fact, given how rapidly mPOS is spreading from industry trendsetters to the rest of the market, digital transformation of the retail experience is no longer merely an attractive option — it is a competitive necessity for any company that hopes to remain relevant to today’s digitally connected consumers.
A Multivendor Puzzle
While mPOS offers a lot of benefits to customers and salespeople, it can pose a tough challenge for IT. For one thing, an effective end-to-end mPOS environment is typically a complex multivendor puzzle that requires the right software, on the right devices, connected to the right back-end systems. And everything must be integrated so that performance and reliability meet the demanding requirements of a real-time customer experience.
IT staff also must be able to manage the end-to-end environment to make sure it runs smoothly — all while keeping it secure and compliant, which isn’t easy, given the many vulnerabilities of end-user devices, back-end systems and network.
Speaking of the network, mPOS obviously depends on good Wi-Fi connectivity throughout every store. Achieving that coverage economically can be tricky, especially in larger stores with a lot of physical obstacles.
Getting Outside Help
Because of these complexities, many retailers are turning to outside help for mPOS design, implementation and support. An experienced, mPOS-savvy technology partner can spare IT organizations from having to reinvent the wheel, and can help them avoid the often painful mistakes made by early adopters. The right partner can add further value by ensuring that a retailer’s in-store mPOS environment complements its other marketing and sales channels (including web, mobile and direct mail) to deliver a unified, 360-degree view of the customer.
Retailers that successfully craft a great multichannel customer experience achieve higher per-customer revenue, reduce their cost of sales and increase their brand appeal. Those are vital advantages in today’s competitive marketplace.