The year 2011 was an exciting year in the point of sale industry. Mobile technology advanced like never before as businesses of all sizes and shapes realized that there might be better, more efficient, ways to do things, and began looking for ways to make life easier for customers, staff, and management. Smartphones, tablets, mobile computers and mobile printers are changing the retail and point of sale landscape, and there will be no turning back from this trend.
It is interesting to reflect on the changes, surprises, and events of the last year, but more importantly, what can we expect in the year to come? We have asked industry leaders to share their insights, and this is what they have to say.
John Giles, President of FuturePOS:
“In 2012 you’ll see the continued adoption of Smartphone technology. As these devices become more and more prevalent, it will be in everyone’s best interest to allow the customer to directly contribute to the sale process. This would be the next step in the evolution of Online Ordering, as this is just a mobile way to accomplish the same end. What will be different is that with the mobile aspect, you will see clever marketing applications using GPS and QR Codes to entice customers who are physically nearby.”
Sean Connors of POS Prophet Systems:
“On the 2012 outlook, I see very good things. Opportunities were plentiful in the final quarter of 2011 and that momentum has carried over right into the new year. Another positive is that several of our customers have either just opened a 2nd location or are just about to open a 2nd location. That typically leads to future growth and exponential success for everyone involved.” Read more on his blog.
Ashlee Olson, Vice President of Marketing for ECR Software Corporation:
"2012 seems to be the year of exceeding customer expectations through innovative new technology and its creative implementation. Mobile POS and self checkout are a great example of this, allowing retailers to serve consumers outside of traditional retail environments and enhancing personalized customer interaction by freeing cashiers from behind stationary check lanes.”
Hili Shrem, Director of Business Development for Visual Retail Plus:
“As a company that develops Point of Sale software for retailers, we really get to see first hand how the economy is doing. We see how many new businesses open and close and we are extremely glad to say that in the last few months we have seen two shifts; quite a few of our retailers have added locations and Visual Retail Plus has acquired a number of new customers that have the confidence to upgrade their systems and purchase new software and hardware after being reluctant to do so in the last few years. We are confident 2012 will be stronger, more successful and are therefore in the midst of developing new features and services to offer our customers in order to make sure that they have the complete store and inventory control they have learned to expect from us.”
Will Atkinson, CEO of CAP Software:
“I’m very excited about the prospects for 2012. We’re seeing a lot of momentum and interest from resellers in growing their businesses and it just seems like there’s more positive energy in the channel and in the marketplace than at this time last year. We’ve been talking about mobility and the cloud for a couple of years now, and NRF this year really highlighted the fact that mobility is here to stay. The cloud is coming, but I think we’ll see more traction in better designed and conceived mobile solutions to offer SMB retailers a stronger use-case scenario and ROI, rather than just the WOW factor. I think the payment space is going to evolve quickly in 2012 as well with EMV and NFC, plus mobile wallets, really starting to gain acceptance. Hopefully we’ll see a clear trend that solution providers can pick and become subject matter experts on so they can deliver a path forward for their customers. All in all, I expect to see an improving economy and lots of new tech implementations, so it’s very exciting.”
Alexander Muse, ShopSavvy's founder and CEO:
“We have seen continued growth in initial user adoption (i.e. new users) of smartphones and increased repeat usage (i.e. engagement) over the past three years. This holiday season really showed us that mobile shopping wasn't just a fad, but a new way consumers engage with products and retailers. Our platform is specifically designed to help small retailers engage with local consumers in very targeted ways. By allowing retailers to communicate with shoppers who are nearby and ready to buy, ShopSavvy is perhaps a small retailer's best friend. We saw a big increase in user engagement, users remembering to use ShopSavvy more frequently for a broader set of products. In 2012 we believe this trend will continue. We predict that mobile purchases will make a huge jump. Mobile purchases using our wallet were exciting in 2011, but we believe they will really grow in 2012. Our wallet, unlike some of the other wallets out there, is actually connected to real retailers - regardless of which carrier you use or which phone you choose. ShopSavvy wallet helps consumers buy with confidence and ease.”
Al Quinn, general manager of Advanced Data Capture, Motorola Solutions
“Motorola Solutions expects consumers’ use of mobile phones and mobile barcodes to continue to flourish in the retail space. Consumers will exhibit a stronger desire to interact with retailers while shopping in their stores. Much of this interaction will revolve around scanning a mobile barcode from the screen of their smart phone at the POS for mobile couponing and mobile loyalty applications.”
Craig Aberle, Founder and Publisher of The Point of Sale News:
“I am wildly bullish on the next few years. The retail and bar code industries are on fire right now. User search traffic on the Internet for those industries has grown 60% over the last two years. With the penetration of the smart phone more than doubling next year, I expect that thousands of new applications will be launched and that users will experience an unprecedented level of control in the retail environment.
The Apple iPad is unquestionably expanding (or destroying) the boundaries of the retail experience. Companies like Square and other payment processors are shaking the POS world entirely. Millions of tiny businesses can now accept credit cards and it is healthy for our economic conditions and good for society as a whole.
The growth of bar coding for end-users will expand the bar code industry and will increase the need for traditional dedicated bar code readers , bar code printers and other bar code peripherals. I predict that both the bar code industry and point of sale industry will experience very solid growth over the next few years.
If the history of personal digital appliances in the last three decades has taught us anything, it is that the commoditization of technology brings expansion on an unprecedented scale.”
Marcy Patzer, Senior Director of Retail Strategy, Scala Inc.
“Scala is seeing great interest from retailers to combine predictive analytics with digital signage systems and we expect this move to accelerate in 2012. The driver behind this trend is the ability of predictive analytics software to examine and measure business trends, customer behavior patterns and point-of-sale data, apply specific business rules and then using digital signage software, leverage this information to predict and influence buyer behavior. By turning Big Data into competitive action, retailers can determine which messages to display to each individual customer at the point-of-sale in real time to empower customers to make smarter decisions.”
“This combination provides a powerful way to transform display content into meaningful, customized messages that address exactly what shoppers are looking for in the store. The content can be used to announce and generate in-store promotions, create up-sale offers and more.”
Mike Baur, CEO, ScanSource, Inc.
“As smartphones and tablets become more prevalent in the channel, we will continue to see manufacturers respond by creating industrial versions of these products, as they understand that resellers need alternative, more ruggedized versions to offer to their end-user customers. In addition, as the end points evolve, I believe we will see more low-cost applications becoming available for niche markets, allowing resellers to meet the very specific needs of their customers. We created our AppSource mobile app store for just this reason and are seeing great opportunities for resellers through this program. We are also seeing a renewed focus on RFID, for which I believe ScanSource can play an instrumental role in enabling and educating the channel. It’s an exciting time in the industry!”
Written by Erin Thayer
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