Mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems may be the future, but this doesn’t mean they’re being wholly embraced in the present. In fact, one-third of companies surveyed have no immediate plans to implement this infrastructure.
Mobile point-of-sale technology will change the in-store shopping experience. Items can be added to a virtual inventory and retail employees positioned on the sales floor can then check out ready customers with smartphone or tablet devices, reducing cash register traffic and de-centralizing the checkout process.
The adoption rate of mobile POS has slowed over the past year, according to the results of an IHL Group report. While some retailers have generated buzz by making wholesale transitions to a mobile system, the majority of retailers aren’t as enthusiastic.
There’s no question that making the move to a mobile-centric POS system is a big transition. The IHL Group report suggests that too many question marks remain to trigger a shift across the retail industry. The key to accelerating adoption rates for mobile-based POS systems lies in finding ways to ease fears and address potential systemic issues.
Honing in on Operational Problems
Some retailers’ biggest concerns revolve around how mobile point-of-sale will function in the actual store. With mobile POS, retailers need to figure out how to handle cash and manage the flow of checkout traffic, as well as maintain device and merchandise security.
Despite these challenges, 28 percent of retailers intend to start using mobile as a means of processing purchases this year, according to the IHL group.
Those specific adoption rates vary depending on the type of retailer and the transactional volume they are handling. The report argues that some retailers are better set up than others for mobile point-of-sale systems simply based on the nature of what they sell, as well as how much they sell. Specialty soft-goods retailers and casino businesses seem poised to extract the greatest benefit from these systems, in part because transaction sizes have been shown to increase by as much as 25 percent.
But mobile point-of-sale isn’t as effective in high-volume retail situations, such as grocery stores and supercenters, in part because the volume of items purchased eliminates the convenience factor of mobile technology.
Looking Ahead to Better Solutions
Most retailers are set on using mobile point-of-sale only as a supplement to traditional transaction processing — at least for the next three to five years. Until then, mobile processing software and hardware such as Square could become a valued new fixture in stores.
But Square is hardly alone in the race for mobile POS dominance. Other services, including GoPayment, Google Wallet and PayPal Here, are giving retailers more options. In the meantime, major retailers have no plans to scrap traditional checkout lines.
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