Long lines and holiday crowds can easily turn the most wonderful time of the year into the most frustrating time of the year. Today's consumers are used to being one-click away from most items on their wish list and as they abandon their virtual shopping carts for the real thing this shopping season, retailers should be prepared to keep up with their tech savvy needs in brick-and-mortar stores. This means easy payments, fast service and exceptional customer service. One of the most successful ways retailers can create a stand-out in-store experience is through the use of a mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) system.
A mobile POS system benefits both the retailer and the consumer by creating an approachable workforce that offers improved customer experience, while simultaneously streamlining behind-the-scenes processes. A simple consumer solution such as Square or Level-Up will offer most mom-and-pop shops a solution to the increase in holiday shoppers by offering a faster and easier checkout experience. However, for large retailers considering deploying a mobile POS system this holiday season, an enterprise-grade solution is the truly the only reliable, secure option. Here are a few things retailers with a mobile POS on their holiday wish list should consider when picking out a solution:
Checkout Features: Consumers have more ways to purchase an item than ever before, often at the click of a button. Retailers need to be prepared to accommodate whatever form of payment a customer wants to use, especially if that company operates globally. In total, mobile POS systems should be able to handle traditional payments, including cash, as well as chip and pin, European chip and pin, RFID and near-field communication (NFC). Barcode scanners are also an in-demand checkout feature of mobile POS because they automatically activate with a simple swipe across the scanning field cutting down on the time it takes to complete a purchase.
Security Standards: Just as consumers are increasingly concerned about their online security, retailers are cracking down on secure in-store forms of payment. Retailers need to integrate mobile POS security solutions that adhere to the PCI Data Security Standard, with software certified as PCI-PDS and hardware as PCI-PTS compliant. Essentially, this means no information is actually stored on the mobile devices itself, and therefore can't be retrieved if the device is hacked. Furthermore, retailers are starting to require EMV 1 and EMV 2 certification, which authorizes PIN and integrated chip payments from debit, credit and smart cards.
Integration with Existing Processes: The most beneficial mobile POS solutions will be compatible with everything from backend sales systems to inventory to CRM systems. Mobile POS should streamline business processes, not create more hassle for employees. Whether it knows if a hot-ticket item is out-of-stock and where to find it another store, or making a recommendation based on a customer's last purchase, an improved customer experience can only happen when mobile POS systems are well integrated with existing back-end processes.
Give the gift of mobile POS to employees and shoppers this holiday season. The flexibility and mobility that mobile POS offers allows salespeople to cut down on endless lines and manage the crowd, without forsaking their ability to pay attention to the individual needs of shoppers and create an optimal in-store experience.
Yezid Acosta is CIO of I Love Velvet, a mobile POS solutions provider for enterprise retailers.