Reexamining The State Of POS: Take Steps To Accelerate The Checkout Process

Retail TouchPoints – Retailers may not realize just how much point-of-sale (POS) technology has advanced in recent years — and how quickly it continues to evolve. The POS is now much more than just a necessary workhorse; it’s also the means to address one of retail’s biggest pain points: slow checkouts. But despite the critical upgrades and improved functionality within POS platforms, many industry players still lag when it comes to implementing newer technologies: 53% of retailers report their POS software is more than five years old, according to Boston Retail Partners.

More than one-third of the retailers surveyed are planning to replace their current POS software and hardware within three years, the report said. But there are still many that don’t plan to replace their software (36%) and hardware (28%) for another five years — an indication that these retailers are being too complacent about a mission-critical set of solutions.

This Retail TouchPoints special report discusses the recent evolution of POS technologies, and explains why retailers must reexamine which facets of their systems are most important to expediting the checkout process. The report also touches on:

Why omnichannel integration and customer engagement are main drivers in the preference shift from all-in-one platforms to best-of-breed solutions;
How larger POS vendors are becoming more open to integrating microservices and other third-party APIs that add functionality and flexibility;
Why retailers must think cloud-first when upgrading their POS platform;
How ‘Apple-esque’ devices have forced vendors to consider more aesthetically pleasing POS hardware in stores;
Mobile’s continued growth and influence on POS technologies; and
The emergence of self-checkout as a frictionless payments option.

Page 3 (comments from Perry Kramer):

NEW PRIORITIES SHAPE POS DECISION-MAKING

Two growing retail imperatives — omni-channel integration and customer engagement — are shifting how retailers evaluate POS systems, according to Perry Kramer, Senior VP and Practice Lead at BRP, retail consulting firm.

“Five years ago, retailers were looking for that quick win, where they would look at one solution,” said Kramer in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They’d say: ‘I want my POS, I want my order management, customer engagement, promotions and pricing all in one suite.’ What’s changed in the last two or three years is that retailers are focusing on best-of-breed, engaging the customer with something that’s specific to them. From a tech point of view, they’re now saying: ‘We want a more modern platform that’s built on microservices technology, and if I need to swap out my order management, I’ll swap out my order management.’”

Integrating third-party microservices, which are smaller, individual applications designed to work together within a larger enterprise ecosystem, can be a safer and faster alternative to replacing larger, outdated back-end services all at once. With microservices, retailers can be more flexible in carrying out their POS strategy, including collecting and leveraging customer data within the platform. Additionally, major POS vendors are becoming more open to the different ways that third parties can integrate APIs into the ecosystem.

Page 8 (comments from Perry Kramer):

MOBILE POS GROWTH SET TO OUTPACE OVERALL POS MARKET

As many as 66% of the retailers that have adopted mobile payment terminals have done so within the past two years, with more than 90% upgrading them within the last five, according to Boston Retail Partners. However, only 31% of retailers have deployed mobile payment terminals overall, while 42% have implemented mobile devices at the POS.

BRP’s Kramer estimates that there will be anywhere between a 40% to a 70% reduction in the number of lanes within a store as mobile POS terminals gain popularity. “Some specialty retailers already have gotten rid of the lanes and they’re trying to do everything on the tablets,” Kramer said. “You’re going to see retailers trying to grab back some of the space that is used during only 20% of the year. If you walk into a LOFT or a TJ Maxx, you’ll notice 20 lanes across the front. That’s a very expensive set of real estate that is only [fully] used two months out of the year. In four or five years, the consumers are going to be trained on mobile POS and expect to walk into a store, scan their barcode and see if that product is available in another store. Because the consumers are expecting it, you have to make it available to your sales associate as well.”

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