Company News • 29.04.2015
mPOS-ible to Define? What mobile means in retail
mPOS will gain traction at big retailers who want to improve the customer experience
The term mPOS is bandied about our marketplace constantly these days, but ask what it means, and you’ll get some creative answers. As often happens with technology trends, new terms emerge to define the trend, but few people can agree on its definition.
With mPOS, the good news is it can mean what you want it to mean. The bad news is the variety of definitions generates confusion about what the technology really is. It’s clear that most people associate mPOS with mobile, but what that means can vary. So far, we’ve come across at least four definitions:
- Supplanting the cash register with a smartphone, tablet or dedicated wireless device.
- Accepting payment for consumer goods through “mobile wallet” smartphone apps such as Apple Pay, Tap & Pay, Square or Google Wallet in lieu of swiping a payment card or using cash.
- Accepting payment through a third-party intermediary, such as PayPal or Bitcoin.
- Enabling consumers to complete an in-store purchase no matter where they’re standing because the clerk can bring the checkout to them via a mobile device.
The actual definition, and the one that APG endorses, combines numbers 1 and 4 above. The m in mPOS refers to the ability to lift the POS device – a smartphone, tablet or dedicated handheld – from the counter and carry it to the consumer, wherever he or she is standing in the store. The idea is to bring convenience to shoppers so they can complete their purchase (regardless of what payment type) at the point of decision/interest without waiting in line at a cash register where a customer can change their mind.
This is known at APG as Thin-bility (thin client + mobility) where a handheld or tablet can be both a thin client and a mobile device simultaneously. A mobile tablet can be used anywhere for line busting to increasing employee productivity, shopper loyalty and can increase sales overall.
This approach vastly improves the in-store consumer experience and frees up counter space that would otherwise be taken up by stationary POS terminals. mPOS is cost-effective and, as such, very attractive to small retail shops because they more easily can take advantage of new technology while adding value for customers.
We believe mPOS will gain traction at big retailers because they, too, want to improve the customer experience. Seattle-based Nordstrom is an early adopter, having launched an mPOS strategy in 2011. In 2012, US based retailer Urban Outfitters also went fully mobile by deploying mobile devices to associates for quick customer turnaround, remote inventory access and line busting.
At APG, we have been developing products to complement mPOS strategies. Our IP-enabled cash drawers are a perfect fit for mPOS solutions, allowing store clerks to complete cash transactions anywhere in the store that a cash drawer is located. Our Bluetooth device for cash drawers also enables mPOS transactions within proximity of a drawer. When customers elect to pay with cash, the clerk can walk to the cash drawer with the customer to complete the transaction. The future of POS is light and mobile, and we will be there to help make it happen.
by Paul St. George, Director of Mobility and Interfaces, APG Cash Drawer, LLC