For retailers and restaurant operators, keeping a finger on the pulse of POS trends is as imperative to continued success as identifying the hottest products and menu items. Let’s take a look at three of the most important POS trends that will impact your business in 2015.
POS Trend #1: Continued implementation and rising popularity of new payment options and technologies.
- Mobile payment services (“e-wallets”): Apple claims its Apple Pay e-wallet, launched this past fall, is accepted at some 220,000 brick-and-mortar locations, including its own stores and those operated by such heavy-hitters as Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Staples, McDonald’s, Nike, Petco, and Sephora, to name a few. Additional retail and restaurant operations are quickly jumping on the bandwagon.
Mobile payment services adoption should become an even stronger POS trend this year given the expected debut of the Apple Watch and another e-wallet offering called CurrentC. Apple Pay presently works with the Apple iPhone 6 as well as mobile POS apps on iOS devices. However, iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s owners will also be able to use it in tandem with the Apple Watch once that product hits the market. CurrentC is already undergoing pilot-testing by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a Wal-Mart led consortium of more than 50 retailers that together operate more than 110,000 stores and process $1 trillion in annual payments.
- POS hardware that accommodates credit and debit cards (“chip cards”) manufactured under the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) standard: In October 2015, liability for credit and debit card fraud will shift to merchants unless they have replaced their existing technology with such hardware. While installing so-called “EMV-capable” hardware is not mandatory, its benefits will make implementation a notable POS trend in the coming months. Enhanced security and the ability to avoid the financial fallout from data breaches and fraudulent activity—which can run into the millions—top the list. Moreover, not only does EMV-enabled POS equipment use near-field communications (NFC) technology to read chip cards, it is also the “enabling technology” for Apple Pay and other emerging technology methods.
Statistics from Hospitality Technology magazine’s “POS Software Trend Report 2015” underscore the heightened popularity of new payment options like e-wallets, along with the transition to EMV-ready POS hardware. Of participants in the study, 56% cited “enabling new payment options” as a business driver; 47% said the same about “preparing for EMV.”
POS Trend #2: Increased integration of tablet POS. Forty-seven percent of operators polled for the Hospitality Technology study also deemed mobile POS—including tablet POS—a major business driver. Pushing the envelope of this POS trend are several advantages afforded by tablet POS.
- Ease of adoption and use. Employees are already accustomed to using tablets for personal reasons. The same cannot be said of POS systems. Rather, the learning curve is far steeper and the time needed for training, significantly greater.
- Flexibility to complete customer transactions on the store floor or at the restaurant table, speeding customer throughput, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty and boosting sales.
POS Trend #3: PCI compliance on the rise. Retailers and restaurant operators are striving harder to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). January 1, 2015 was the deadline by which all companies that access, store, and/or transmit cardholder data (CHD) and personally identifiable information (PHI) were to be in compliance with Version 3.0 of the standard. According to Verizon’s annual PCI compliance report, only 10 percent of companies are passing their baseline PCI DSS assessment. Other experts say organizations are overwhelmingly ready for PCI DSS 3.0, and more than 40 percent of respondents to the Hospitality Technology survey consider PCI compliance a key business driver. The major elements of PCI DSS 3.0 call for the development of operational processes and practices that allow merchants to be proactive in their approach to data security. Merchants should be able to audit endpoints, and networks for deviations from the norm in real-time vs. reacting to incidents after they have already occurred.
Other POS trends are likely to surface in the coming year. However, operators that pay close attention to the three major trends described above stand well positioned to prosper going forward.