POS of the Future

RIS News – The point of sale (POS) is still the epicenter of the retail enterprise. This vital system is the final and oftentimes most important step along the shopper’s path to purchase, yet it also can unify nearly every other major retail technology. POS is rapidly expanding into areas beyond transactions and fits into the fast emerging trend of deploying store platforms.

As new customer-facing solutions are introduced they must be integrated with the POS to ensure frictionless operations across channels. In order to keep pace with industry leaders, retailers need a POS solution that is able to meet today’s requirements for mobility, emerging payment options, data collection, security, omnichannel commerce and more. Systems must also be prepared to seamlessly onboard new capabilities as business needs dictate. In addition, POS is a key tool in fostering personal connections with shoppers. Associates with POS information anywhere in the store have the capability to guide the shopper journey from start to finish. RIS News’ annual look at the POS explores the current state of this crucial technology and the differentiating features retailers should consider when preparing plans for their next POS.

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Within two years, 60% of retailers plan to have centralized or cloud-based POS, up from 36% today, according to the Boston Retail Partners’ (BRP) “POS/Customer Engagement Survey.”

“A common, centralized, real-time platform for all customer engagement points is a key tenet of unified commerce,” says BRP in the report. “A unified commerce platform is not simply the future in-store or web platform, but combines in-store POS, mobile, web, order management, call center and clienteling into one integrated platform. It has become the new retail imperative.”

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“Clienteling empowers store associates to leverage customer data (purchase history, personal information, preferences, etc.) and deliver highly personalized customer engagement, provide exceptional in-store shopping experiences, and timely follow-up communication with customers,” explains Boston Retail Partners (BRP) in its “2017 POS/Customer Engagement Survey” report. “To be effective, guided selling and any other customer engagement tactics can’t operate with yesterday’s information — they need real-time data, context and analytics.” Having a retail platform in place that unifies information is the first step to advanced clienteing by enabling real-time visibility and access to customer data, inventory and pricing. Clienteling software requires a uniform commerce platform and predictive analytics, but should also include tools that facilitate upselling and shopper convenience, such as mobile POS, real-time inventory availability, and endless-aisle capabilities.

To reach this kind of engagement, many retailers have turned to mobile POS and are bypassing the standard fixed payment terminals or upgrading to a hybrid solution. Over the past two years, according to BRP’s survey, many retailers have upgraded or added mobile devices and almost all mobile POS devices are less than five years old, however 22% of retailers are planning to keep their current mobile devices as a POS in use for more than five years. This year, 49% of retailers are using mobile solutions for associates, which is significantly more than the 31% last year.

Read Full Report: POS of the Future