Why I’m Excited about the Future of mPOS (Mobile POS)
Do you remember what it was like to make a purchase twenty years ago? It was quite a different world of payments. There are plenty of examples I could give, but my personal favorite is The Dude paying his 69-cent grocery bill with a check in The Big Lebowski. If that movie had been released in 2017, I like to think that The Dude would have just tapped Apple Pay.
I think very frequently about the state of payments—not surprising, given my role as president of an iPad-based point of sale system for restaurants. Lavu has been around for seven years, launching when the iPad did in the App Store in 2010. Because we were early mPOS leaders, our team has a reservoir of collective knowledge about how the POS ecosystem has changed. Here are some conclusions I’ve drawn from that reservoir:
Growth – mPOS has grown tremendously in recent years. Business Insider published a chart last fall showing just how much, and it’s pretty astonishing to see what a rise we’ve been a part of. The chart depicts 3.2 million mPOS units in 2014, compared to 8.5 million in 2017. My favorite part of the chart, however, is what lies ahead: In 2021, Business Insider predicts there will be a whopping 27.7 million units of mPOS installed! As TouchDynamic.com recently noted, “mPOS will remain in growth mode.”
Adaptability – It goes without saying—and yet deserves reiteration—that one of the keys to business success is the ability to adapt. As businessman Robert C. Gallagher reportedly said, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” mPOS has proven to be tremendously adaptable and flexible, allowing customization and enhancements that make it a continuously evolving platform. Consider it the anti-vending machine (because when you order a Coke through an mPOS, you can expect to get it).
Foundation – Along those lines, even though mPOS is a SaaS (aka “software as a system”), I consider it as more of a platform than a system. It is the foundation upon which enhancements, features, and integrations are built. This year alone, we are adding so much to our core product—everything from robust payment integrations to thorough enterprise management to complete inventory management. Viewing mPOS as the bedrock on which to build a stable and long-lasting institution is the perspective I like to take. That bedrock is solid as a rock, but a whole lot easier to carry.
Universality – Finally, I want to point out that mPOS is far from a regional trend. It is an international movement. Nearly 40% of Lavu’s new customers are outside the US; our customers are everywhere from Bahrain to Trinidad and Tobago. A 2016 study from Juniper Research found that smaller merchants in emerging markets—especially India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America—are being enabled by mPOS to grow their businesses. On the micro and macro levels, mPOS is growing, and bringing business growth along with it wherever it goes.
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