Over the past decade, we’ve seen the global penetration of mobile technology change the way consumers find, purchase from, and interact with retailers. Now we are witnessing a huge growth in mobile adoption by the retailers themselves. They are proactively changing the way consumers interact with their brand and product, and not just in the online space.
Mobile POS systems demanded attention and popularity with the emergence of Apple’s iPad. Mobile POS is now helping retailers adapt the in-store space to simulate the speed and flexibility of the Internet. International retailers like Sephora, and at the other end of the spectrum, small single-store restaurants, use iOS /iPad combos with specific apps or software in lieu of traditional cash register based POS systems.
According to Jason Richelson, CEO and founder of ShopKeepPOS , in an interview with BizReport.com, tablets cost less and are more functional than PC based terminals. “They are easier to update software on, have fewer issues with viruses, much easier to train cashiers on, are more secure and easier to configure, and are battery powered. The list goes on and on. We [will] see half the black box terminals in retail stores replaced by tablets in the next 3 years.”
That’s a pretty ringing endorsement. One of the foundations of mobile POS is cloud-based technology. For years, there has been an undercurrent of concern about security with data transfer and data storage out there… in the cloud, if you will. In the interview, Richelson recommends going with a cloud provider who does not have a long-term contract. This gives the user the ability to leave without penalty and keeps the provider accountable for long-term service and support.
For all the popularity of Apple and the ubiquitous iPad, they haven’t completely cornered the market on mobile POS systems. Many others are moving into the arena, including Celerant Technology. Last month, Celerant released news that they have partnered with Motion Computing, a maker of tablet PCs, to provide a mobile POS system.
Ian Goldman, President and CEO of Celerant Technology Corp., plans on “every retailer benefit[ing] from Celerant’s Mobile POS, whether they are a smaller retailer administering sidewalk sales, or a larger retailer utilizing it for line busting or for more personalized in-aisle sales.”
For now, Celerant’s mobile POS is available only on Motion’s SlateMate, but development is in process for other mobile devices. Celerant began its mobile push in 2010, optimizing its e-commerce offering for mobile devices, and earlier this year, Celerant Command Mobile Applications was released for back-office functions.
Revel Systems, POS vendor, just came out with a new POS system that utilizes Revel’s new wireless router to connect with an iPad ‘s wireless service to create a point-of-sale. The company worked on the system after receiving complaints from food delivery services and food trucks about limited mobile payment solutions. The wireless router eliminates the need for bulky connectivity hardware like routers and cabling.
The good news is mobile POS systems are becoming more prolific and proficient. As competitors enter the market, they'll get cheaper to use too, which is a good thing considering Jason Richelson's number one tip for integrating mobile POS: "Look for a system that is all encompassing. Don't try to tack on a mobile POS to your old fashion existing client server based point of sale system."