It's an understatement to say that mobile is fast becoming an integral component of retailers' integrated point of sale (POS) environments. Mobile POS (or "mPOS") adoption is expanding at unprecedented rates.
A June 2016 Juniper Research study found that mobile POS devices, such as tablets and smartphones, will handle over 20 percent of all retail transaction value around the world by 2021. The report indicated that at least one third of all POS systems will be either a tablet or smartphone within the next five years. That means that at least $2.3 trillion in revenue will come through mPOS.
Beyond that, it's important to consider that mPOS comes in many forms. In Europe, for example, many merchants regularly accept payments via dedicated - also known as integrated - mobile POS systems. These tools grew increasingly popular across the globe throughout 2015. In that year alone, 6 million units were shipped, representing an uptick of around 64 percent. In retail specifically, mobile POS devices shipments rose 107 percent worldwide.
When factoring in the two separate types of mPOS - integrated and smart devices - and their use cases, it's clear that mobile is becoming the new face of the point of sale. This represents a huge shakeup compared to current POS environments, but why such a demonstrable shift to mPOS?
Shoppers demand mPOS
For one, providing shoppers with the opportunity to pay at that moment when they find the item they're looking for will allow business to grow more quickly. As a Verifone report explained, 57 percent of "in-store satisfaction" is measured based on the transactional experience, and when shoppers need to try to find a traditional POS terminal, that experience is negatively affected. With mPOS devices, however, in-store representatives can meet customers in the aisle or wherever they're looking for products. This point is a particularly important one for both POS developers and retail business leaders, as technology is becoming an increasingly prominent factor when it comes to customer experience. It's up to both of those parties to improve and drive revenue with exceptional shopping experiences.
Additionally, no one wants to wait in checkout line - around 75 percent of consumers won't wait more than five minutes in a queue, according to Verifone. By meeting customers where they find products, there is no waiting in line.
Security takes priority alongside EMV adoption
Secondly, mPOS is catching on as EMV adoption rates rise and retailers recognize that they're on the hook for fraud if they don't support these new payment cards. After all, security is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to mPOS.
The good news is that many new systems allow retailers to accept EMV chip-based payment cards. The fact of the matter is that EMV-supporting mobile-based POS is more secure and PCI compliance-friendly.
In some regard, mPOS represents the perfect opportunity for businesses to make the transition to EMV-accepting POS environments. By using an integrated mPOS device and supporting it with middleware that enables strong cybersecurity via tokenization and end-to-end encryption, retailers are doubling down on data breach and fraud prevention.
Mobile POS: Quick, easy and affordable
Lastly, mPOS allows merchants to better adjust to retail industry and payments sector trends. Before mobile-based POS, retailers had to procure and install hardware and software. This required - and still does - a massive capital investment. As a result, it was - and still is - very difficult to stay up to date with customer experience trends.
Now, with the ability to seamlessly integrate mPOS into existing POS environments with cloud-based middleware, businesses can start taking advantage of this new technology without investing an arm and a leg - both financially and IT resource-wise. That benefit alone makes mobile POS an attractive solution for retailers of all sizes, as revenue can go toward additional customer experience-enhancing technologies and other more mission-critical business needs.
As another important note about the cost-efficient nature of mPOS, retailers should consider that a move toward a recurring investment allows them to more effectively pivot their POS strategies if new devices are released or technologies developed. This way, merchants aren't stuck using the same POS systems that they've purchased over a decade ago - if they want an upgraded device or new technology, they can migrate to it without yet another capital investment.
The mPOS revolution has arrived and making the switch to mobile-based EMV-supporting devices nowadays makes more sense than ever, giving retailers and merchants the perfect opportunity to reinvent their point of sale environments for the 21st century.
Related Reading: Canadian Merchants: 5 Signs It's Time to Upgrade
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