Prior to digital revolution, the last major disruptor to the retail industry was way back in the 1950s, when credit cards made their debut. The change was obvious and made the world take notice as changes were coming.
Fast forward to today where the next revolution has taken place where digitalization of transactions has made whole new markets available to monetize and pioneer.
A bit about today
The digital revolution continues to reshape the retail landscape which only a few years ago was thought unthinkable. Point of Sales systems became the essential tool needed for all brick and mortar stores to remain competitive. It has been reported that Point of Sales (POS) terminals industry will reach USD 116.06 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 per cent, which remains very impressive.
More than ever, businesses depend on data to make informed decisions in response to customer demands for safe and unique shopping experiences. POS systems bridge the dichotomy of requirements in providing a safe harbor for customers to make purchases and business owners to gain the data and analytics needed to better market to their audiences.
As online retail continues to grow, it frequently produces ‘breakout’ moments of modern technology further evolving how we use and manage mobile devices, social networks, eCommerce platforms etc. These bring both benefits and challenges to retailers who need to prepare and adapt when competition becomes tight. The following are only a few of the trends related to POS systems that are significantly strong this year:
While it may seem like a no brainer here given the availability of mobile phones in urban cities, the increase in mobile use to make payments is growing in massive acceptance, in rural areas as well. This change has moved many customers away from the traditional ‘cash register’ (not to mention using cash altogether), to using portable technology as a sales transaction solution.
Payments using, for example, digital wallet cards, Apple pay, Google pay and the soon to be Apple credit card have defined the nexus of disruption transitioning to permanent tools that modern POS systems need to accept. Mobile Point of Sale technology (MPOS) have given retailers, both small and large, equal opportunity to accept a variety of payment sources, responding to customer payment preferences.
To understand mobile impact on e-commerce, by 2022, smartphone devices will account for approximately $175.4 billion in sales in the US alone. Optimizing for MPOS solutions is no longer an option. Simply providing a MPOS solution is not in and of itself a solution. In 2017, average cart abandonment was around 79 per cent, of which 30 per cent was due to complicated checkouts. MPOS solutions for business need to take into account quick, easy and convenient mobile payment solutions.
Cloud technology and data analytics for SMB
Following in the footsteps of providing a POS or MPOS solution would be its use of cloud technologies as its medium to complete transactions. What is making waves today is the availability of cloud POS solutions now for small-medium sized business (SMB) and retailers alike. The benefit now is that small businesses are very agile and can easily migrate to a cloud POS solution.
Cloud systems, aside from giving your customers a convenient online option to pay, offer other advantages for the business regarding customer engagement. Data analytics are now available to measure customer satisfaction experience from product view to product purchase online as well as customer engagement post purchase (marketing offers, newsletters etc.). Additionally, the back end of product sales, including inventory, shipping, re-ordering stock etc. are all able to be optimized for all SMB.
AR and VR take advantage
Aside from providing an app to make MPOS purchases convenient, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have already shown great potential in 2019 with companies like IKEA, Samsung or Amazon technologies helping customers view and ‘try’ products on their devices, in stores, before making purchasing decisions. AR and VR bring a ‘real-life’ customer experience (especially for online retailers) who are selling home decors, furniture, clothing, cosmetics etc.
It is not just a mobile app or a POS system in store that acts as your gateway to make sales. Enter Amazon Echo or Google Home, who currently make purchases using voice commands for everything from furniture to food. Fueling this trend is an ever increasingly busy customer base who find voice much easier than typing and searching for a product they already know they need to purchase (e.g. groceries).
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) POS opportunities
D2C business models are growing at a fervent rate in 2019. These retailers are the most dynamic and agile entrepreneurs opening up retail sales trends today. They have effectively cut out some to all of the intermediary distribution channels in wholesale models with selling their product directly to customers. D2C companies can now control the brand experience from beginning to end, saving their customers money through shortened supply chains and directly impacting customer loyalty to maintain ongoing sales.
Whether online or in-store, 2019 is shaping up to be full of change. Customers want to purchase products where they want and how they want. It would be up to businesses to research their market, identify potential opportunities and adapt accordingly.
Remember, if you need any direction in this vast POS landscape, we are always here.