The lines are blurring between traditional, stationary point of sale (POS) systems and mobile point of sale (mPOS). A cash wrap is increasingly just as likely to have a POS system comprised of a tablet and peripherals as it is to have a legacy terminal. However, the mPOS solution offers additional benefits that enhance experiences both for users and consumers, and those capabilities are creating opportunities for ISVs.
When you provide flexible, mPOS solutions, you enable merchants to assist customers in the aisles or quickly set up a checkout when needed. The mPOS line-busting capabilities you provide your clients keep lines and wait times short for customers which will improve customer satisfaction. Additionally, mPOS can give businesses the flexibility to manage buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and other omnichannel processes more effectively than walking back and forth to a stationary POS terminal.
To provide solutions that deliver those benefits, adding value to the solutions you provide, ISVs and software companies need to understand the issues that merchants face with mPOS.
What’s the Downside of mPOS?
John Choi, Product Manager for Epson America, notes the biggest challenges with mPOS are related to the tablet form factor.
He explains that tablets often have limited connection ports, which restricts the number of POS peripherals the retailer can use. One option is to use a USB hub; however, cable management becomes an issue. Additionally, because tablets run Android or iOS operating systems, integrating third-party devices requires programming, limiting retailers’ choices of the printers or other peripherals they can use. “Designing a solution that leverage the benefits of tablet-based systems while overcoming these limitations is key to delivering maximum value,” Choi says.
How to Create a Total mPOS Solution with Optimal User Experiences
Fortunately, you can overcome hurdles standing in a merchants’ way by keeping these things in mind when developing mPOS solutions:
- Set a goal of true mobility. Ensure the solution you provide to your clients is designed for mobility, whether for line busting, assisting customers in the aisles, setting up an extra return counter or cash wrap, or a checkout at a sidewalk sale or pop-up shop. “It gives your clients more flexibility and versatility to meet their customers where they are,” says. Choi. “Sales associates can access the information they need to provide more valuable service to customers and leverage it to reinforce their brands.”
- Take advantage of mPOS hardware solutions. A partnership with the right hardware vendor can solve many mPOS issues for you and your clients. For example, Epson’s OmniLink® TM-m30II-h thermal receipt printer supports up to four POS peripheral devices and USB, Ethernet, and Bluetooth connectivity options. It also provides network connectivity from the printer and charges the tablet. Additionally, Epson’s OmniLink TM-m30II-SL thermal receipt printer with a built-in tablet mount and cable management can be the hub of a sleek, space-saving point of sale with broad connectivity options, network tethering, and printer reliability.
- Integrate with peripherals designed for multiplatform compatibility. You can find printers designed to print from smart devices running iOS, Android or Windows using native or cloud applications. This gives your clients choices and gives your team the flexibility to add platform-specific features in the future.
- Enhance customer experiences. Appearance and aesthetics matter. Ensure that the solution you put together through partnerships and integrations looks neat, sleek and keeps consumers engaged and informed with a customer-facing display.
Winners and Losers
Although there are many software companies competing in the mPOS space, Choi comments that ISVs who understand their customers and how they use technology will have an edge. “ISVs must recognize that merchants recognize the significance of digital engagement,” he says. “Merchants are focused on e-commerce as well as brick-and-mortar retail, and they want to know how to enhance their brands in both arenas.”
“You need to understand your clients’ entire IT ecosystem and provide self-service kiosk or digital signage management options that access the same database as the mPOS system,” he suggests.
Also, remember that some merchants choose mPOS because it’s easy to install and use. However, your clients could range from tech-savvy digital natives to mom-and-pop shop owners that aren’t comfortable with technology. “The mom-and-pops, in particular, need help,” says Choi. “Now, there is a lack of live support. Competitive ISVs will address this need.”
Stay Focused on the Big Picture
Your mPOS clients are focused on providing the best customer experiences, which research has found is more important to 66 percent of consumers than even price when making brand decisions. If customer experience is what’s important to your clients, that should be what’s important to you as well.
“Do more customer research to really understand shoppers’ behaviors better,” says Choi. “This will allow you to make quicker and better feature prioritization decisions for your solution to serve the new types of consumers out there.”