Consumers, increasingly accustomed to online and mobile shopping experiences, have developed new expectations when shopping in physical stores. They expect sales associates to be able to access their purchase histories and other information so offers and services can be tailored specifically for them, making their shopping experiences more personalized and convenient. Smart retailers are looking for ways to meet these expectations, and go above and beyond to delight customers with in-store customer experiences unlike anything that online shopping could provide. For large retailers, mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology is a key enabler in providing these experiences.
Tablets used in mPOS applications should have a stylish, sleek design that demonstrates a modern and relevant brand. It’s more than just about appearance, however; mPOS solutions need to be ergonomic so sales associates can carry and use them throughout a shift without fatigue. Tablet solutions should also be versatile, empowering your staff with the information and applications they need to engage customers who are using smartphones in-store to research products or comparison shop.
There are five basic ways ergonomic mPOS solutions can help large retailers increase sales as well as customer satisfaction:
- Line busting
- Staff empowerment
- Space saving design
- Fast and secure transactions
- Improved customer experience
Today’s consumers want what they want, when they want it — including a checkout process that is as easy in the store as it is online. Some shoppers will abandon their intended purchases rather than waiting on long lines. Furthermore, a study by Omnico Group revealed more than 77 percent of consumers say they are less likely to return to a store where they encountered long lines.
Mobile point of sale solutions help retailers better manage store traffic and shorten lines at stationary checkout counters. With mPOS, employees can use tablets to complete sales and process payments anywhere in the store, and will also have the ability to provide customer service outdoors at sidewalk sales or pop-up shops. Service on the spot, with less of a wait, makes the shopping experience more convenient and pleasant, and decreases the potential for customer dissatisfaction and lost sales.
Moreover, when mPOS gives customers the option to pay for merchandise at the point of decision, they are less likely to change their mind about purchasing your product — which can mean more revenue. Line busting supported by mPOS technology also simplifies another process that can negatively impact the shopping experience — merchandise returns. With mPOS solutions, retailers can accept returns in store aisles or use an mPOS solution to set up a temporary additional lane for returns at the customer service counter. This is an especially useful option during a period of high volume returns such as after the holidays. This also helps create a positive experience for customers, and perhaps, make them more likely to replace unwanted items with new merchandise and return to the store in the future.
Customers have high expectations about sales associates who assist them in brick-and-mortar stores. After all, if shoppers can go online to access their purchase histories, a list of items that they browsed, updates on their loyalty rewards, order status, and shipping information, why can’t in-store staff? Consumers also expect sales associates to have in-depth product knowledge, or at least be able to access information. If a shopper can look up information on his smartphone, the sales associate should be able to do the same.
mPOS technology puts all of this information at sales associates’ fingertips. Using their tablets, the sales staff is empowered to respond quickly to customers’ needs. They can provide immediate answers to questions about product prices and availability by utilizing mPOS devices to tap into the POS and inventory management systems. If the items they are looking for are out of stock, a sales associate can check availability at other stores or warehouses and have it shipped, saving the sale.
Equipping sales associates with mPOS means the best of both worlds for customers shopping in-store: they have access to the information they need to make their purchasing decisions as well as face-to-face service and interaction with friendly sales associates.
In addition to better, faster, more customer-centric service, ergonomic mPOS solutions have another advantage: a small footprint. Unlike traditional POS hardware, these solutions can be used anywhere and, when set up as a stationary POS terminal, they are much smaller. Since they require less space on the counter, there is typically room to display impulse items or signage in an organized, aesthetically pleasing manner. An ergonomic mPOS configuration also will eliminate the need for multiple cables, which can detract from a store’s overall aesthetic appeal, as well as make it more difficult for employees to maneuver their way around the POS station.
Increased employee comfort and the potential for improved employee performance is another practical advantage of mPOS technology. For store associates, operating large or bulky POS equipment in a cramped area can be uncomfortable and may lead to mistakes or damaged merchandise.
Fast, Secure Transactions
A more organized checkout area, thanks to mPOS, can help sales associates total sales and serve customers more quickly. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of mPOS advantages when it comes to payments. Advanced mPOS solutions support a variety of payment types including quick, secure, contactless payments powered by near field communications (NFC) used in mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Google Pay. mPOS tablets and other devices can also accept EMV chip card payments that help protect against fraudulent payment card transactions.
An mPOS tablet can also include a scanner that enables sales associates to scan barcodes or QR codes from a paper or digital coupon, so discounts can be applied. When loyalty rewards programs are integrated with your POS system, this information will also be available to sales associates via mPOS devices, so they can communicate points totals or help customers redeem their points for rewards. mPOS solutions can also include mobile printers so customers can still receive a paper receipt — even a receipt imprinted with coupons, surveys or other messaging — from anywhere the transaction takes place on the sales floor.
Improved Customer Experience
Although there is competition from e-commerce and other channels, shoppers still primarily choose physical stores to make their purchases. The latest U.S. Census Bureau e-commerce sales statistics show e-commerce is less than 10 percent of total retail sales. The competition is primarily with other brick-and-mortar retailers who are also trying to provide an “online” experience to shoppers in their stores.
Using data collected from all channels, sales associates can engage customers with relevant suggestions based on past purchases, asking if they’ve seen a designer’s new line or if it’s time to upgrade an electronic device purchased at their store. Sales associates can also upsell or cross-sell, suggesting additional items that can complete a purchase, helping shoppers feel more pleased with their new merchandise — and increasing revenue for the retailer.
mPOS also helps retailers continue to fill their customer databases or customer relationship management (CRM) solution with information that helps them better understand their markets. This helps with merchandise replenishment and demand forecasting, which means customers are rarely disappointed because they can’t find what they’re looking for.