Successful retailers know that the secret to selling more can be a relatively straightforward formula: Increased traffic equals increased sales. But what about the costs associated with generating that traffic? How does a retailer serve more customers without adding more infrastructure or staff? The goal, after all, is to increase profitability, not just to sell more. Mobile point of sale tablets can benefit merchants greatly in that effort.
With the influx of new technology, most notably mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, retailers are now realizing how they can use these innovations to increase profits, boost productivity and reduce costswhich is the business goal trifecta. One area where they can strategically apply such mobile technology is the point-of-sale, where cumbersome, expensive terminalstethered to fixed-line networksstill rule the roost in most establishments.
Legacy point of sale systems still offer services that appeal to any retailer, whether or not they have innovation in mind. Services like inventory management, loyalty program administration, basic analytics, and, certainly, payment processing, can all still be accomplished through the current POS system. However, more and more merchants are asking themselves, Is this enough?
One of the most attractive aspects of tablet-based point of sale systems is mobility, which should surprise no one. With the tablet, sales clerks can roam through the store, check prices and even check out customers wherever they are. That minimizes lines, speeds up transactions and gets customers quickly on their waywhich makes everyone happy. Furthermore, many businesses are reclaiming valuable square footage where stationery checkouts once ruled. For some stores, this can mean stocking more inventory, or in the case of restaurants, adding a table or two. In any case, giving sales associates the freedom to roam the store, serve customers and conduct transactions on-the-spot satisfies the needs of both the merchant and the consumersomething that just cant be accomplished through a traditional POS.
And then there are the costs. A legacy POS system could cost upwards of $1,000 or more per terminal, not counting added expenses, such as networking requirements, software licenses and security measures. With a store that runs five POS terminals as part of its daily operations, these costs can be considerable.
Tablet-based POS solutions offer a completely different value proposition. From the price point perspective, tablets usually cost half the price of an existing POS terminal. Also, its a lot faster and easier to update mobile tablets than fixed-line POS systems, and the operating system for an iOS or Android tablet means that merchants can easily integrate any new features or applications they wish, without having to rely on expensive IT staff to reconfigure the POS.
Training is also less expensive and significantly easier to execute. Since the tablet has become ubiquitous in our society, virtually everyone is comfortable with the interface of an iPad or Android tablet. Now, compare that comfort level to the retail POS, which is not nearly as forgiving nor flexible, and the tablet, by contrast, becomes the intuitive choice. Employees can learn a tablet POS in minutes, and when new features or services become available, staff members can easily load these onto the device. The elegant simplicity of the tablet reduces effort and frees up staff to serve customers, instead of forcing them to wrestle with outdated POS systems.
Consumers today are looking for ease, flexibility, and convenience. Merchants understand that, but they remain anchored to archaic fixed-line POS systems that make their operations look dated in a rapidly changing mobile-centric world.
In todays mobile age, the tablet-based POS could be the best option for merchants looking to meet the evolving demands of their mobility-driven customers while shedding the costs and constraints of expensive, outdated infrastructure. They just make sense.
Mitchell Cobrin is CEO of AnywhereCommerce.