The point of sale (POS) arena remains rife with development and change, from the physical characteristics of the technology itself to how retailers use it. Retailers and hospitality operators must be prepared for these trends to maintain or increase market share.
Here are the five biggest POS predictions for 2017.
1. Convenience is key. A quest for increased convenience at the checkout counter will spur increasing numbers of retailers and restaurateurs to replace their legacy “pieces and parts” POS systems with all-in-one solutions.
All-in-one solutions are ergonomically friendly, allowing them to fit into small spaces at the POS counter and eliminating arranging and rearranging the POS counter to accommodate larger units. Unlike traditional stationary POS terminals, they are not unwieldy, but rather, easy to use.
2. Mobile retail will continue to evolve. Research firm Global Market Insights recently predicted that the mobile POS terminal market will exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 19 percent from 2016 to 2023. POS predictions for mobile POS include hardy, power-packed tablet technology becoming more sophisticated and primed for clean, seamless integration into the customer experience.
Tablet POS will be used both as mobile POS and configured as stationary terminals and will offer multiple connectivity options (such as WLAN, Bluetooth, and NFC), ample flash storage, and support for multiple operating systems. Even more so than in the past, tablets will feature rugged designs that withstand the rigors of continuous use and damage that might occur when used in store aisles.
3. Brick-and-mortar retailers will get smarter about technology and the access and use of big data. Retailers will foster consumer engagement and bolster the bottom line by leveraging technology to empower sales associates with customer data. Data accessible on site from the POS system will come from sources such as social media and ecommerce sites. This data provides insights into customers’ preferences and online browsing and purchasing histories. More retailers will harness this data to create personalized and targeted offers.
4. Big data from on-site and external sources will be more accessible to small businesses. Among other POS predictions, in 2017 the playing field will begin to level with more options for small business to access data. Data mining and analytics tools are now within reach of SMBs, both from usability and budget standpoints, and they will use them to gain a competitive edge.
5. Media, media, media. The last of our top five POS predictions is the expectation that, more and more, consumers will find multiple paths to purchase. The shopper’s journey may include traditional stationary POS technology, mobile tablet POS technology, mobile wallet technology, proprietary retail apps, and ecommerce. Retailers will ramp up the use of responsive website interfaces, interactive digital screens, pop-up shops with a digital component, virtual reality, and other media that creates a visual and sensory experience in-store all to ensure each consumer has a positive, personalized, consumer journey.
It’s time for retailers of all sizes to consider how these trends for 2017 will impact the industry and their businesses. Merchants that stay ahead of the curve, stand the strongest chance to be firmly in the black through the year and beyond.