Mobile and tablet based point-of-sale has been a hot topic issue for quite some time. The prevalence and popularity of consumer devices in the world of point-of-sale (POS) is on the rise. Both vendors and retailers see value in this new wave of business solutions. Here are six reasons why Mobile POS (mPOS) is more than a trend.
1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Point of sale systems can be expensive. Hardware components and software packages can cost more than $20,000 at the enterprise level, not to mention the cost of technical training and professional installations. Mobile POS systems have different pricing models. Similar to the “App Store” you would use on your personal smartphone, mPOS can be purchased or downloaded via the cloud. Some mPOS platforms offer the software for free, other’s simply employ software as a service (SaaS) models and charge on a subscription basis. Lastly, as handheld devices become the norm, the cost of these devices continue to decrease – some of your low-end tablets are on the market for a MSRP of $99.
2. Enhanced Functionality
For a long time, the argument against mPOS was that they were too simple with regards to their feature set. They couldn’t manage back-office operations or inventory at the same level as enterprise and legacy solutions could. That’s not necessarily the case anymore. More and more companies with point-of-sale experience are getting into the mPOS space now and they know what features POS systems need to have in order to be successful. Mobile POS solutions are becoming more cumbersome and we are seeing this across multiple verticals. Gone are the days where mPOS solutions were just good for ordering and taking payment. Many of the leading mPOS solutions can manage back-office, inventory and other important business functions.
3. Training Employees on Consumer Devices is Easier
Smartphones and tablets have taken over our personal lives. Companies like Apple and Google have impacted our lives more than we know. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t own an Apple or Google device these days. This plays well into the rising popularity of mPOS. Business owners know that training can be an expensive, but necessary, expense. Employee retention is also a problem with small and medium sized business, restauranteurs and retailers. Training employees to use consumer-driven devices is much easier than POS systems that typically use confusing hardware components not available in their everyday lives.
4. Aesthetics Count
Many business owners don’t like clutter or wires around their counter-top. Most consumers don’t like to see many bulky devices and wires around the counter-top or point-of-purchase. Mobile POS systems are typically ran on tablets and smartphones which are clean and simple. The stands and sleds that support these devices follow a similar design and do not inconvenience the consumers. The popularity of mPOS has actually ignited an entire sub-industry of companies that develop hardware components just for smartphones and tablets. Using cloud networks to manage the communications and connectivity, the counter-top is getting prettier and much less busy.
5. New Distribution Channels
Traditionally, POS systems have been sold through only a few sales channels. Most POS systems are bought directly from the developers and vendors who develop the software or through value-added resellers who specialize in support and installations. Mobile POS solutions, however, have provided a myriad of new opportunities for sales channels. Easy enough to understand, access and use, different third party organizations such as processors, independent sales organizations (ISOs) and agents have been getting in on the action. Furthermore, our familiarization with the “App Store” model has paved the way for many developers to simply list their software and market it as another application in the marketplace.
6. The Cool Factor
Using forward-thinking and consumer-driven solutions to engage with your customers is not something many companies do for some reason. However, when retailers and restauranteurs do it right, it can unlock a myriad of check-out possibilities that create unique advantages for your store-front. Mobile POS and mobile extensions have given way to in-aisle check-out platforms and self-service kiosks. These infrastructures not only create convenience, they also create a novel retail experience for the customers. Studies have shown the associations consumers have with businesses that use mPOS in this way is quite positive.