The Future of POS Systems
Point of Sale Systems are the center of small retail businesses. They help store owners - manage inventory, make buying decisions, track employee hours, manage customer relationships, and assist with several other store functions.
20 years ago a POS system for a small business owner was considered a notebook, ballpoint pen, and a reliable calculator. Now, think present day. The competition over point of sale systems is intense. (so intense that after I downloaded a POS guide off a website - I received an email and sales call in a matter of five minutes)
If you are thinking about an upgrade or considering your first POS purchase make sure to ask about these features. A point of sale system is a big investment for your small business. You need hardware and software that will provide value now, and for the years to come.
With all this competition between point-of-sale companies battling for retailer's hard earned money, the buyer wins. Improved technology is being added every year to keep up with the demand of owners and their customers.
The question is, what's next?
New payment options – Services like Apple Pay, Softcard, and other pay-with-your-phone companies are creating a demand for POS systems to work with "e-wallets"
Multichannel selling in stores – Gone are the days that you visit a store, search for a product that's not there, and then leave frustrated hoping the next store will have it. With multichannel features on your point-of-sale system you can direct customers to another location with the product in stock, or have them purchase it online and shipped to their house.
Biometrics – This is technology that can measure and analyze human body characteristics, such as DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns, and hand measurements, for authentication purposes.
Payments with fingerprints are already happening at some UK supermarkets. This biometric technology can also be used for workers using cash registers to reduce theft and improve accountability for errors.
Facial recognition and eye scanners might be years down the road but biometrics are a thing of the future that is rapidly approaching.
Advanced customer relationship management (CRM) – By now you know it's much easier (and cheaper) to keep current customers than to constantly be gaining new ones. Managing customer relationships will become increasingly personalized and automated in the future.
After you are able to acquire a customers email you can track their purchases down to the size of the pair of shoes they last bought. This type of data can be used to expand your customer loyalty programs or clear up slow moving inventory with highly targeted email campaigns.
Mobile POS – There's no question people are on the move, and mobile is becoming more popular. Have you ever been to an Apple store where the same associate who helps you solve your problem also scans the products and accepts payment right where you are standing? No need for stationary cash registers in the future. Most POS systems are adopting this technology now, but it will be heavily expanded on in years to come.
Omnichannel Assistance – The gap between online and offline is closing for retailers. Owners looking to purchase a new point of sale system might be interested in the same technology helping them to set up an online storefront.
Digital signage near products – Price tags and displays will become increasingly digital in the years to come. Marking products on sale will be done with the press of a button.
EMV – The technology where micro computer chips are embedded into each credit/debit card. These relatively new cards can be referred to as smart cards, chip cards, or EMV cards. This microprocessor is protection against counterfeit, lost, or stolen cards.
Javelin Research & Strategy, (Aite Group, 2014 PULSE Debit Issuer Survey) reported that 70% of U.S. credit cards and 40% of U.S. debit cards will be issued as EMV cards by the end of 2015. On October 1st 2015 your business officially becomes liable for all fraudulent card transactions if it isn't equipped with the right hardware to process EMV payments.
If you aren't sure if you're prepared for this switch - First Data, CreditCards.com, and ThatsEMV.com offer FAQs, learning centers, and other resources to assist small retailers with the switch.