We have seen a steady rise in the number of retailers and customers using mobile point-of-sale or mPOS systems in recent years as a way to improve the in-store customer experience. In fact, a recent report by research firm Gartner shows the value of mPOS transactions in Australia significantly increased from $7.6 billion in 2014 to $21.7 billion last year.
451 Research anticipates the global mPOS installed base will grow from 13.3 million units in 2015 to 54.03 million units in 2019. However, even though the ‘mobile-first’ approach is making it easier to simplify the checkout experience and keep customers happy, this trend is just scratching the surface of the value that most mPOS systems can deliver for Australian retailers.
Modern day retailers should regard mPOS systems as more than just a mobile check-out. Most mPOS systems are cloud-based and offer retailers a number of retail management services like integrated inventory management and customer relationship management, along with retail accounting, including general ledger, purchase orders, and payroll processing. These are in addition to the regular POS services like barcode and credit card scanning and the ability to discount items or void transactions.
It’s worth noting that many still see value in the traditional POS counter, as it offers the opportunity to showcase additional products and upsell complementary offerings. In these cases, an mPOS solution should not be seen as a replacement solution, but as a parallel complementary solution in the bricks-and-mortar store.
So, what should retailers consider when looking to implement an mPOS solution for their business? Below are the top four ways Australians retailers can reap the full benefit of mPOS systems and drive deeper customer engagement.
Today, customers enter a store armed with more information than ever before and have access to additional information at the push of a button from the device in their pocket. Retailers need to be prepared for this. mPOS systems help retailers store and access vital customer information like previous order history, special requests and wish lists, all of which empower salespeople to better understand a customer’s behaviour to pro-actively serve them better. This can dramatically improve the in-store experience driving higher levels of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Empower the front line
Salespeople are the front-line staff of the retail store. They are the face of the business and have the most capacity to drive sales by satisfying customers and providing them with the best shopping experience.
Retailers can effectively enable this front line by giving staff access to real-time inventory, product specs and reviews, allowing them to instantly offer real value to the customer on the floor.
mPOS technology also supports contactless payment solutions, which are gaining popularity with Australian customers. This capability further enables salespeople to drive customer convenience and foster brand loyalty.
A single version of the truth
The order management capability of mPOS systems allows retailers to offer ‘buy anywhere’, ‘fulfill anywhere’, and ‘return anywhere’ functionality, providing a truly endless shopping aisle for customers across online and offline channels.
With real-time inventory data available, store employees can immediately locate and allocate products to their customers without ever leaving their sight. This information also allows retailers to better fulfill customer demands and eliminate sales losses by proactively communicating information such as the availability of stock, expected time of fulfillment and delivery or inventory locations to customers.
All this information can be shared with the customer no matter where they are in the store. The sales agent no longer needs to walk them over to a central desk to get the information or worst still, leave them stranded on the shop floor with no idea whether the salesperson will return.
This seamless connection of inventory and customer information helps engage customers more effectively, drive more sales and provide a memorable shopping experience.
Mobile POS systems in Australia are PCI-DCS compliant, which provides an additional layer of security when compared to traditional POS systems. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a security standard in place to help prevent payment card fraud and ensure optimum security for processing and storing card payment details.
mPOS systems provide retailers with a robust and high-performance point-of-sale solution in a highly secure environment in which their customers can carry out a transaction. The end result is peace of mind and improved trust, and therefore better potential for repeat and referral business.
Today’s mPOS solutions run on a variety of different devices, from smartphones to tablets to wireless terminals, making them extremely portable and simple to use. When integrated and used correctly, they arm Australian retailers with a secret weapon that can help differentiate service and ultimately drive deeper connections with customers. With the Australian retail industry facing new and emerging local and international competitors, the ability to differentiate, engage and excite customers has never been more important.
David Bray is the sales director, retail for NetSuite in ANZ.
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