POS CHECKOUT HARDWARE: Unifying the Experience

RIS News – As technology rapidly evolves and consumer demands change, the point of sale (POS) platform of the future must be device agnostic and able to support access to real-time enterprise information. From fixed registers to mobile tablets and smartphone devices, POS checkout hardware can be varied, but should always center around the best possible customer experience. Mobile POS checkout adoption can be an important tool to increase associates’ ability to guide shoppers smoothly through checkout and differentiate the store experience. Meanwhile, retailers need to look at payment security as part of a much larger multi -layered enterprise security approach. Below are insights from Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, for retailers to consider when updating their POS checkout hardware.

As retailers continue to embrace unified commerce, what updates should they make to their POS hardware solutions?

The majority of retailers need to modify their vocabulary by replacing the term POS with the term “customer engagement platform.” To meet the constantly changing demands of consumers, the platform of the future must be device — and ideally OS — agnostic and structured so that it can operate in thin, lean and thick environments. Additionally, this new platform must be capable of supporting a real-time integration to order management, inventory, product and customer information. Most importantly, retailers should view this as a platform of tools all centered around a defined customer journey and experience. The ideal customer engagement environment may be a combination of fixed registers (fastest throughput), mobile tablets (best for full functioning mobile POS and CRM) and smartphone-sizeddevices (best for inventory and line-busting functions).

Q Mobile POS checkout is rapidly growing and can improve the customer experience. In what ways are retailers integrating mobility from a POS perspective?

Mobile POS checkout adoption varies widely by retail segment. In the high-ticket, lower transaction volume retail locations and select areas in department stores, we are seeing success and adoption of a full-functioning mobile device for processing all aspects of customer engagement. In traditional front-line retailers like Burlington, we are seeing tremendous success with a smaller footprint device for line-busting. In sporting goods stores, we are seeing tremendous adoption and success with a smartphone-sized device to check shoe availability in the stockroom without leaving the customer’s side. Additionally, many retailers are equipping sales associates with endless aisle capabilities on mobile devices to “save the sale.”

Q What cutting-edge POS features can help retailers solve the engagement and loyalty challenge?

Offering closed-loop payment capabilities on the consumers’ mobile device is one of the best customer engagement innovations we have seen in the last two years. This is evidenced by recent statistics revealing that Walmart Pay has overtaken Apple Pay as the most used mobile wallet in the U.S. Many retailers have created their own branded mobile wallet to enable a frictionless payment transaction and to facilitate the identification of the customer at the POS while capturing all of their purchase history. This is surprisingly easy to implement with the recent innovations in token technology and it significantly enhances CRM and loyalty while creating a frictionless checkout in-store and online. Another hot customer engagement technology is the use of beacons and expanded use of in-store WiFi to identify consumers and their path through the store.

Q Payment systems continue to be breached at an alarming rate. What can retailers do to secure their POS hardware solution against sophisticated cyber thieves?

It is amazing how many retailers think they have implemented a comprehensive set of leading payment practices, but in reality, they have not. Having an external review of your payment systems every two to three years, beyond an annual PCI assessment, is now a best practice. Meeting PCI standards is table stakes and it is still not nearly enough to stay ahead of sophisticated criminals. Most retailers have a part-time team assigned to payments while the criminals are working full-time with rapidly evolving technology. Retailers need to look at payment security as part of a much larger multi-layered enterprise security approach that leverages encryption and tokenization in all critical systems including CRM, HR and finance.

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