This is a post by Abby Heugel
To say the digital evolution is arguably one of the most significant retail disruptors since credit cards made their debut in the 1950s would be an understatement. Just as credit card machines became the latest phenomenon, today an efficient POS system is an indispensable tool for any modern day brick-and-mortar retail location.
In fact, according to a recent point of sale industry report, the POS terminals market value is expected to reach $98.27 billion by 2022 — that’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent.
From customers demanding a more personalized experience to businesses relying on data to make smarter business decisions, a POS system is at the center of it all. It’s the intersection where business logic and real-time business transactions meet, and it’s where all the action happens.
As a merchant, it’s essential to stay on top of the latest trends in POS technology so you can stay steps ahead of your competition. Here are five point of sale trends to watch for in the near future.
Increase in mobile payments and tablet POS
With the digital age and new technology, cash and cash registers are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Shoppers have more options than ever — from credit, debit and prepaid cards to contactless payments and making purchases via electronic apps — all of which offer a variety of advantages that cash can’t touch. Cashless payments provide speed, convenience, guaranteed payment for merchants and security and transparency for both consumers and merchants.
In fact, 73% of shoppers say they use less cash than in the past and eight of 10 customers worldwide use a tablet, smartphone, a computer or some form of digital technology within the store as they shop. Not only that, but 82% of consumers say they first refer to their mobile devices to find out more about any purchase they’re about to make in a store.
Tech giants like Apple, Google and Samsung enable mobile payments from smartphones, providing consumers with a more convenient way to pay — and retailers should take note, as this is the wave of the future. To keep up, implement a tablet-based POS system that can accept mobile payments, traditional credit card transactions and, of course, cash — as despite it’s diminishing popularity, it’s not going away forever.
Adoptions of cloud technology
In today’s digital environment, it’s critical that retailers have their store transactions or sales data accessible quickly from their smartphone, tablet or desktop wherever they are. That’s where cloud technology comes into play, as with cloud-based solutions, the POS software, services and data are provided to the user, on-demand, from the service provider’s servers.
The biggest advantage of using a cloud-based POS solution is that retailers can do everything from easily accessing their data to upgrading their software across all the stores at the same time. Multiple stores can be updated and upgraded in just minutes, which makes doing business easier for retailers. And because cloud POS is provided as a service, new features can be developed and released by the provider quicker than was possible with a client-server POS.
Vend arms you with all the tools you need to accept mobile payments and run your business on the cloud, no matter where you are.
A seamless personalized customer experience
A critical factor for success in today’s highly competitive market environment is the proper and timely use of technology to enhance customer relationships and improve the quality of the customer experience — all while streamlining the daily activities of your retail establishment.
Personalization is key, as 79% of consumers said that they will only engage with a brand if their promotional offers are customized to how they have interacted with that brand before, and in another survey, 91% of consumers said they tend to shop with businesses who are aware, can recall and give offers and suggestions relevant to them.
How does your POS system factor into this equation?
POS capabilities aren’t limited to providing a better understanding of the financial workings of your business. They’re critical when it comes to leveraging data more efficiently and effectively across all areas of the business, including customer relationship management (CRM). Retailers that use their CRM dashboards can more effectively segment marketing and coordinate sales and promotions based on their interests and shopping habits.
The impact of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already having a huge impact on the retail sector, with 15% of businesses currently deploying AI in their POS systems and 31% of businesses planning to implement AI within a year, according to a survey from CMO by Adobe. POS systems that employ AI can now remind businesses to fulfill an order or replenish stock, notify businesses about evolving customer behavior, alert them to new product trends, give recommendations on which customers should be re-engaged, suggest promotions to carry-out and evaluate sales trends.
AI as used with POS systems can also integrate all payment experiences, real and online — mobile apps, chat payments, Instagram/social payment, purchases from your website and payments in your store — which help to provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience.
Use of data and analytics
Last but certainly not least, POS systems are evolving to provide a plethora of data and analytics that can help retailers make smarter, data-driven decisions about their business. In order to personalize and enhance the customer experience, you have to know who your customer is, and that can be done through analyzing data and analytics through your POS.
Today’s POS software should provide not only the most important business data like sales revenue or transaction volume, but also drill down into more detail. What are your peak hours so you know how to staff accordingly? Are there items that are selling better than others? Are there items sitting on the shelf for months, tying up valuable cash flow into underperforming products?
The future of POS systems will give retailers instant access to rich consumer data and robust analytics to help them carry out more intelligent, data-based business decisions. Because that data will be so readily available, you can spot comparisons and correlate trends into actionable tasks.
Looking ahead to the future
As POS technology continues to evolve — becoming more affordable, intelligent and ingrained into core business operations — merchants will have every opportunity to create a smart retail environment that not only offers the products customers want, but also the ideal customer experience.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.