By Yezid Acosta, CIO, I Love Velvet
The holiday shopping season is creeping up quickly, and with it comes seemingly endless lines and easily frustrated customers. As shoppers begin to feel the crunch, employees begin to feel the pressure, and soon this yearly tradition feels anything but celebratory. Fortunately, many retailers have taken steps to reduce some of this holiday related stress by implementing a MPOS (mobile point of sales) system.
The move to mobile has real business benefits; bringing salespeople out from behind the register allows them the flexibility to offer an improved customer experience while streamlining processes behind-the-scenes. Many customers have become accustomed to the convenience of one-click online purchasing and integrating MPOS into the checkout process creates an in-store experience similar to the one they have in the comfort of their own homes. Apple is one company that has implemented a mobile check out system to great effect in its stores worldwide.
Apple employees are given the opportunity to meet and greet customers on the shop floor because of mobile point of sale (MPOS) abilities and systems
For retailers considering deploying a new MPOS, it’s important to fully understand the specific needs of the business and how MPOS can help both it and its customers. The first thing to determine is if the business requires a consumer or enterprise grade solution.
For small businesses, a consumer option like Square or LevelUp offers a straightforward solution to increased traffic during the holidays. Compatible with most mobile devices running Android and iOS that salespeople are already familiar with, these provide customers with a quick checkout experience that is relatively hassle free.
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However, for large businesses and corporate retailers, an enterprise grade solution is crucial to smooth holiday sailing. Options on this scale offer a more complete package of features that work towards an improved customer experience and all around more efficient business processes. Consider some of the following requirements when issuing an MPOS RFP >>>
Multiple payment options
Advancement in technology means consumers have more ways to purchase an item than ever before; as a retailer, the ability to accommodate whatever form of payment a customer wants to use can be the difference between making the sale or not. This is a specific concern if your company operates globally, as European chip & pin is critical for sales abroad and a step towards future proofing for when this method of payment advances stateside. In total, MPOS systems should be able to handle traditional payments, including cash, as well as handle chip & pin, European chip & pin, RFID and near-field communication (NFC).
One of the most in-demand features of an MPOS system is the ability to use barcode scanners that automatically activate with a simple swipe across the scanning field. This is a simple, straightforward feature that can make a significant difference when it comes to cutting down on checkout time for the holiday shopping crowd.
Easily one of the most frustrating holiday shopping experiences is waiting in a seemingly endless line, only to find out an item is out of stock. MPOS systems offer retailers the opportunity to quickly turn the sale around by immediately seeing that an item is sold out and being able to search for the item at an alternative location or online – all from a single platform rather than making calls to additional stores or consulting a separate inventory system.
For large companies integrating a new technology like MPOS into an already overloaded backend system can be anything but seamless. It’s critical retailers take a long, hard look at the different type of MPOS solutions available an make sure it can be implemented smoothly with any existing backend systems. MPOS should streamline existing business processes, not create more hassle for employees.
Knowing a customer’s past history with a retailer can often make the difference between a positive experience and a negative one. Whether it’s knowing what they purchased previously, so you can make an educated suggestion towards their next one or signing them up for a rewards card, a CRM system offers salespeople a wealth of data that helps them connect with a customer during this busy time. Retailers should consider MPOS systems that integrate with a business’s legacy POS, as well as its CRM system. This way the improved customer experience doesn’t forsake the ability to continue collecting critical information on customer spending habits.
Often a major concern of consumers unfamiliar with this kind of technology, enterprise-grade security solutions are more important than ever. The retail industry has already begun cracking down on the overall security needed for payment information due to increased threats from cybercrime. In turn retailers are focusing on integrating security solutions that adhere to the PCI Data Security Standard, with software certified as PCI-PDS and hardware as PCI-PTS compliant. Essentially, this mean no information is actually stored on the mobile devices themselves, and therefore can’t be retrieved if the device is hacked. Furthermore, retailers are starting to require EMV 1 and EMV 2 certification, which authorizes PIN and integrated chip payments from debit, credit and smart cards.
Let the holidays be your test
The flexibility that MPOS provides retailers is the next logical step in providing a better shopping experience for customers and ultimately securing the sale. Bringing employees out from behind the register will create a more accessible and versatile sales floor that benefits both the retailer and the customer if the right solution is deployed, and it’s each retailer’s responsibility to ensure they’ve considered all the options. When those holiday crowds begin creeping in and lines start snaking through the aisles let that be the test to help you determine how MPOS can improve the retail experience.
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