POS tech trends for innovative retail operation
POS industry has upgraded a lot in the last few years and still, new technologies are emerging fast. Business owners and retailers should always be updated with the latest trends coming in the industry. Here are a few POS tech trends which should be on your watch.
Within the past several years, the simple POS system used to record sales has become a complete platform integrating various accounting, marketing, and product inventory processes. And the innovation doesn’t stop there. In addition to gathering data, POS systems may be equipped with analytic and reporting capabilities. That’s why every retail business needs to pay attention to tech trends that will affect POS in the coming years.
The importance of innovative POS terminals
POS terminals are necessary for every retail business, regardless of whether it’s a big or small store. You can manage everyday issues more efficiently if you have a reliable POS system to record sales and match inventories. Unlike ordinary cash terminals, POS systems minimize human error, especially when it comes to pricing adjustments. And with the myriad of features available today when implementing modern POS software, every retail business owner has the flexibility to decide what to do with the information.
Modern POS software is like applications that come with different features suited to every retail business’s varying needs. In this Shopkeep review, there’s a detailed list of what comes with the package, such as mobile integration, seamless sync with multiple units, and digital integration with online orders. Of course, there is plenty of other software available in the market today with an array of features to choose from. What’s essential to understand is that some features are must-haves, while others are excellent add-ons that can improve the way your business operates.
Indeed, POS terminals today can do a lot more than process a transaction. So what else can we look forward to in terms of trends in technology?
Seamless integration with e-Commerce
Current circumstances arising from the COVID pandemic have forced many retailers to adopt aggressive e-Commerce tactics. Since most in-store activities have dropped, retailers focused their efforts on online transactions to make up for the lost sales. Instead of investing in a different software solution to process orders, there are POS systems already equipped for seamless e-Commerce integration.
After the pandemic, when brick-and-mortar store transactions return to normal frequency, the same POS terminal should sync efficiently with both offline and online transactions. And even then, it’s possible that customers will have become used to buying online rather than going to the physical store.
Improved customer experience
Customers today appreciate convenience and efficiency. A POS system should feature reliable invoicing and billing. For example, 54% of US consumers pay using a debit card. As such, having a terminal equipped to process debit card transactions will encourage loyalty from customers that prefer to pay by debit. Another way to improve customer service through POS terminals is by enhancing security protocols. Reassuring customers that their transactions are secure will increase satisfaction and loyalty. Some of the other ways innovative POS technology can help improve customer experience are:
- Faster checkout. Customers that are on the go are always in a hurry to complete a transaction. Besides standard over-the-counter POS, some retailers are already experimenting with self-checkout using mobile devices and tablets.
- Payment option flexibility. Because credit and debit cards are more popular today, very few people pay in cash. So, if your store still uses a cash register, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential sales. Apart from credit and debit payments, consumers today are also trying out new ways to pay. Perhaps in the coming years, POS terminals will be equipped with other payment methods too.
- Manage store inventory. A reliable POS system should help keep store inventory updated. There should be current information on price increases, sales, bundled promos, and other limited offers. This way, it will be easier for the store clerk to assist customers when they inquire about specific products.
Lastly, POS terminals can help improve customer experience by allowing customers to share their feedback. The insight from customers will be valuable in making changes to specific processes.
Cloud-based POS solutions
Many fast-food restaurants around the country have the most advanced POS terminals. Most of these are already cloud-based. This year and likely in the coming years too, retail merchants will continue to shift towards cloud-based POS solutions. According to Forbes, 61% of merchants that responded in a survey are interested in trying cloud-based POS terminals.
And if the competition is already doing it, why should you hesitate to make the change for your business? Here are the advantages of using a cloud-based POS software.
- Flexible. If you don’t have the funds for a one-time shift, it’s possible to transition from legacy to cloud solutions in several stages. You can begin by using cloud-based systems for specific processes that are more frequently used.
- Seamless functionality. Most cloud-based solutions are simple to integrate with existing infrastructure. An open-source API typically works if you want to maximize the current system and shift to cloud-based POS.
- Simple. Cloud-based POS systems only require one app for implementation. All updates will automatically download from the cloud and are compatible with different devices.
Indeed, cloud-based POS will be considered one of the most disruptive retail industry innovations within the next few years.
Increase in mobile payments
When it comes to trends that will affect POS technology and the retail industry in general, mobile payments is the next big thing. In countries like China, a big part of their population already embraced mobile payments for everyday transactions. And since most people nowadays use smartphones, it’s an organic transition that will also happen in the West.
Should your business consider a POS system equipped to accept mobile payments? The easy answer to this question is, yes. First, mobile payments are, at times, more convenient than using a credit or debit card. All you need to do is scan a code or tap on your phone to complete a transaction. Second, when you give customers more options to pay, it improves their perception of the business and enhances the overall experience. Lastly, customers shouldn’t worry about security. Mobile payment is safe and features the latest security and encryption technology to protect customer information.
Integration with Artificial Intelligence
Another up and coming trend in the retail POS industry is AI. AI-enabled POS systems are intuitive and can keep track of consumer buying behavior. It can also function as a fraud detection tool that alerts store managers if there’s any suspicious activity. And because AI collects and analyses the customer’s buying preferences, you’ll know right away which items are in high demand and ensure that your inventory is always stocked.
Improving the method of customer data collection
Every customer wants a flawless purchase experience. As such, customers nowadays won’t hesitate to share their personal information in return for better shopping options. In light of this trend, POS systems should feature the latest technology and business intelligence to collect and process customer data. Instead of ordinary spreadsheets, reporting and data analytics are essential features that every POS terminal should have. With improved data collection, the business can enjoy the following additional benefits:
- An overview of buyer habits will provide a better insight into sellable products. You can personalize offers and promotions for each customer based on what you anticipate they will buy next.
- A highly targeted marketing approach can be implemented when you have the right data. The information can help make actionable decisions when it comes to producing advertising content and other marketing materials. For instance, data gathered from the POS terminal showing the age range of customers that frequent your store will help with a focused advertising strategy.
Having greater visibility of who your customers are, what they want, and their buying patterns holds immense potential in improving not only a business’ current offerings but in attracting new customers.
More self-service transactions
Self-checkout is a convenient feature to have in any retail store. Empowering consumers to process their transactions will reduce the need to pay staff that man the counters. This innovation is already quite popular in restaurants and will likely revolutionize retail stores in the coming years. Fortunately, POS software and systems are already equipped to incorporate this new trend. Also, customers can pay using their mobile phones, instead of physically handing their credit card or debit card to the cashier.
Data and analytics will become a standard functionality for POS terminals
Much of what we’ve discussed so far touched on the trend of collecting and analyzing customer data. Indeed, analytics will be a standard feature for all POS terminals. Companies need data to make concrete decisions in retail. Customer experience, inventory changes, and tracking, staffing, and marketing are only a few of the aspects that benefit from enhanced customer data visibility.
Gone are the days when you enter a store and hear the sound of a manual cash register opening. Within the next several years, more retail companies will continue to integrate innovative POS terminals and software that feature intelligent tools used in business. These trends are a win-win solution because they benefit the company and aim to make the shopping experience better for every consumer.