While technology has changed many aspects of how small businesses like restaurants and retailers work, nowhere has it had a larger impact than in the part that matters most: getting paid.
Point of Sale (POS) and now Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) systems have revolutionized the way merchants are able to accept payments. And it’s showing no signs of slowing. A recent survey found that 65% of retailers say the most in-demand technology is mobile payment capabilities. Meanwhile, there will be 27.7 million mPOS devices in circulation by 2021, an increase from 3.2 million in 2014, according to an article in Payments Journal.
Many retailers may believe that a card reader such as Square is all they need to take advantage of this trend. But the opportunity offered by the technology is so much more. A true mPOS solution is one that provides the power and functionality of a traditional POS system with the flexibility and convenience of mobile, giving your business the best of both and improving your customer experience in the process.
What is mPOS?
An mPOS system is defined by its ability to enable transactions wherever customers are, as opposed to a stationary cash register. An mPOS system can be used to improve the customer experience for almost any type of small transaction-based business. For example:
- A clothing shop employee being able to conduct a sales transaction right at the clothing rack or next to the dressing room.
- A server being able to ring up a customer at the table without making the customer wait to get the credit card back.
- A coffee shop being able to take orders and accept payments for customers as they walk in, saving customers from waiting in line during the morning rush.
- Concession stand workers at sporting events, concerts, and festivals being able to take orders from anywhere at the event, reducing concession stand lines and letting attendees enjoy more of the event.
To make an mPOS system work, you need two things. The first is connectivity; the mPOS system must be able to connect to the Internet through WiFi or cellular service. The second is portability; the hardware you choose to process payments should be easy to carry from customer to customer as your salespeople move throughout your space.
While the basic components usually include a credit card reader that attaches to a smartphone or iPad, features such as mobile receipt printers, barcode scanners, card swiping, and inventory management software complete the picture. Working together, you get the benefits of a full POS system in mobile form. This ensures you can provide your customers with whatever they want when they want it, be it a paper receipt or the price of an item, while still having access to the data you need to assess and improve your business performance.
The big benefits of mPOS
Compared to a simple mobile credit card reader, an mPOS provides myriad benefits, including:
- Freeing up your staff. With a true mPOS system, your employees don’t have to stand behind a counter waiting to use a fixed POS terminal to check a customer out. Instead, staff can interact with customers wherever they are, answer questions, look up inventory, process the sale, and provide a receipt without leaving the customer’s side.
- Improving the customer experience. Retailers are using mPOS to eliminate lines everywhere from local coffee shops to retailers like Nordstrom. Line busting can reduce customer frustration and improve satisfaction, especially during busy times like a lunch rush for a restaurant or the retail holiday season.
- Increasing employee productivity. Because mPOS makes it easier to check out customers, employees are able to get more done—and they’re happier too. According to a Capterra survey, 48% of retail workers prefer using an mPOS, while 62% said an mPOS makes their jobs easier.
- Making more efficient use of space. The checkout area of any restaurant or retailer can take up valuable real estate. By making the POS mobile, you can eliminate bulky checkout counters and use that space for more merchandise, workspace, or customer tables.
- Creating actionable data. Unlike a simple credit card reader, an mPOS can track and share all manner of data, including sales, inventory management, and loyalty programs. It can then automatically push this data into your backend systems so your finance and operations teams receive transaction insight in real-time.
- Improving financial performance. According to a recent study, retailers with mPOS-equipped associates saw a 24% average increase in sales in 2017 compared to retailers who didn’t implement mobility in-store. By making your payment processes more efficient and effective while costing less, a full-stack mPOS can deliver a much higher ROI over legacy systems.
- Providing a competitive advantage. With a better staff and customer experience, more captured data, and a better use of space, merchants that incorporate mPOS will experience a significant advantage over competitors using a simple mobile credit card reader.
mPOS now and in the future
In addition to making customer transactions faster, easier, and more effective, an mPOS platform helps small businesses be better prepared to take advantage of new trends and technologies in payments.
One example is biometrics. By using a fingerprint or facial recognition instead of a signature or PIN, users are better able to protect their credit card data from thieves and scammers. Fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, keystroke rhythms, gesture-based authentication and other methods linked to a user’s credit card will soon be used to authenticate payments. In addition, devices like biometric jewelry or RFID implants could make it possible for customers to pay by simply holding up a hand to a reader.
While it’s difficult to know what technology will dominate the payment space in the years ahead, an mPOS solution provides the flexibility to easily incorporate new software and devices while enjoying more benefits today. Put your small business on a future track with an mPOS that ensures you’re not missing out on all the advantages this technology offers.
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