If you’ve ever been inside an Apple store, you probably know what a unique experience it is for a customer. There is no check-out counter; a store representative conducts transactions on the floor using a mobile device. They scan a barcode, you pay and then walk out with your purchases. You never stand in line.
We encourage newcomers to this topic not to think of mobility as a replacement for a traditional POS system, but an opportunity to provide meaningful customer service beyond the check-out line. In this blog post, we discuss 5 reasons why a retailer would implement a mobile POS system and cite specific cases for mobility that you may not have thought about before.
Reduce Customer Time in Line
Mobility has the power to improve the customer experience at a stationary point of sale system such as the IBM SurePOS.™ The IBM SurePOS™ series can be integrated with mobile devices and applications for efficiency in line busting. For example, during peak store times, a clerk can collect a customer’s information while they stand in line for ultra-fast check-out when they reach the register. Since the mobile device connects to the database in real time, the check-out process is already half-completed by the time the customer places the products on the counter.
A similar system could also be used to check IDs at the liquor store by scanning driver licenses at the door, thus eliminating the time it takes to check IDs in line.
Email Receipts and Collect Email Information
More and more customers are asking retailers to provide paper-free receipting services. From the retailer’s point of view, email receipts are also a great way to collect customer information while providing a requested service. With a mobilePOSsystem integrated with your point of sale, you can easily collect customer email addresses while providing paper-less receipts directly via email. If this system is combined with your customer loyalty program and tied into an ERP system, even the customer’s receipt preference can be stored in the database for future visits. You could also ask for customer information away from the check-out line so that when they reached the check-out counter their receipt preferences are saved and their information already stored.
Another benefit of mobile point of sale systems is that added security is required for implementation. In some cases, the retailer may have to upgrade their technology to meet security guidelines. Anyone who is processing transactions today on a mobile device must follow either PCI guidelines (USA) or the EMV (a chip and pin technology in Canada and Europe). They must also set up a secure wireless environment that uses data encoding across the wireless network and when communicating with the server.
To send and receive data in real time on a mobile device, your handheld will need to interface with a high-caliber point of sale solution like the IBM SurePOS™ series.IBM is a point of sale system run on a secure, well-built server. To implement these solutions, an organization must ensure the server it is running has the stability to support an ERP or mobile solution in real time. By upgrading these systems to support those solutions, you’ll not only be able to access data in real-time, but you’ll also be able to implement a secure environment to support the technology as well. While undergoing the security audit necessary for mobility, you’ll end up in a position to better protect your business and your customers from data theft.
Frees up Floor Space
Implementing a mobile solution can help the retail industry take back floor space that currently is being used by cash registers. Since mobile interaction can happen anywhere, stores can also free up space now allotted to a returns or customer service counter.
Manages Influx of Customers More Easily
Without a mobile point of sale solution, your customer service is limited to how many cash registers you have at any given time. For a retailer with multiple stores where one location is expecting a sudden spike in customers due to an event or special sale, mobile devices can be dispatched from your other locations to a that store to handle incoming traffic.
Since the mobile devices interface within the organization’s ERP solution and all customer information is stored within a collective database, no additional software licensing needs to occur on site. After the event, the manager can just return the devices to the original store. It’s this kind of flexibility that makes mobility such an attractive option for retailers who need on-demand solutions that their store managers can easily implement with ease.