Owen Chen, President & CEO of Posiflex Technology, Inc., discusses how mPOS can help retailers during the busy Christmas period.
It’s that time of year again. The chaos of the Christmas shopping season is fast approaching and the countdown to Black Friday is on. Whilst busy stores and increased footfall are good news for retailers, today’s consumers are no longer happy to battle long queues to pay for their items. The growth of e-commerce and m-commerce, including events such as Cyber Monday, means that shoppers now have the easy option of abandoning their basket in store and buying online instead, with a just a couple of clicks on a mobile phone, PC or tablet. In fact, research predicts that online shopping will account for 15.2% of all UK retail sales in 2015*, making UK consumers the most frequent online shoppers in Europe.
So how can brick and mortar retailers counter the flexibility and convenience of shopping online and encourage shoppers to stay in store this Christmas?
One effective way is through the use of mobile technology and, in particular, mobile point of sale (mPOS). Mobile POS solutions have been specifically designed to provide retailers with all the functionality of a fixed POS and payment terminal together with the flexibility of a tablet. There are several benefits to mPOS, perhaps the most recognised of which is the ability for staff to carry the tablet around with them and take payment from anywhere in the store. This means less waiting in line and a speedier checkout process for customers, ideal for times when shops are particularly crowded.
As well as the obvious impact on sales from queue-busting, mPOS also provides retailers with important customer experience benefits. Customer service is the biggest differentiator that sets the physical store apart from the online environment and as such is a crucial aspect for retailers to get right. Equipping staff with hand-held POS devices frees them up to engage with customers directly on the sales floor, providing the customer with a more satisfying in store experience, even during the festive rush.
When mobile devices are synchronised with existing business operating systems and processes so that POS, ERP and accounting systems are updated in real-time, shoppers in store can browse from a much wider choice of products, including items stocked online and in distribution warehouses. Gifts can then be delivered to a customer’s home – even if they are not in stock or sold in that particular store. Staff can also recommend related products, leading to cross-selling or upselling opportunities to increase average order value.
Mobile point of sale also makes it easy for customers to redeem seasonal promotional vouchers issued through Facebook, Twitter and other social media, without having to wait in line. Moreover, with CRM integration, mobile POS can be used as an integrated customer engagement tool to create desirable offers, promote loyalty programmes, and customise vouchers for the individual shopper.
Christmas is a key season for hiring extra staff and as the latest mobile POS solutions are incredibly easy to use, training time for new employees is reduced, allowing retailers to quickly recruit and train temporary staff when needed. The flexibility of an mPOS solution in the pop-up store environments that are often adopted by retailers at Christmas, is an added benefit.
Not only does mobile POS help retailers engage with their customers in a more meaningful way, it also acts as a market differentiator. Customer expectations and requirements today are higher than ever and the latest mPOS technology offers new opportunities to stand out. By creating a more enjoyable, interactive shopping experience for customers, retailers of all sizes can encourage greater in store spending, improve customer loyalty and drive sales this Christmas.
* Study by Centre of Retail Research and RetailMeNot, Inc.