Modern retail technology is defining the way retailers establish their brands. Modernized point of sale systems, in particular, are leveling the playing field for independent retailers to compete on a global stage. From the advent of bar codes in the 1970s, to the beginnings of eCommerce in the 1990s, retail has been an incubator of technological innovation, to the benefit of brands both large and small.
In recent years, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) via smart speakers, tablets, and mobile devices has transformed the concept of a POS system into a holistic, instantly accessible information hub. Now, POS systems act as a conduit for all aspects of your business, from finance and sales to logistics and social media marketing. It’s clear that modern retail technology is changing the field of play on behalf of smaller brands. Here are some common themes that are emerging from more nuanced POS systems.
The customer experience (CX) doesn’t begin and end with one purchase. Brands and retailers of all sizes are placing an increased focus on optimizing the customer experience. A major differentiator for consumers in terms of experience lies in wanting instant gratification. To them, this is a simple transactional affair. However, for retailers, this involves a concerted effort to unify front-and-back-end systems, from leveraging their POS, to handling day-to-day transactions, to deploying enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to track higher-level financial and logistical operations. This way, brands can efficiently manage inventory and conduct financial projections that lay the groundwork for future growth.
POS capabilities don’t stop at providing a better understanding of the financial workings of your business. In order for small retailers to compete with bigger brands, it’s key to leverage data more efficiently and effectively across all areas of the business, including customer relationship management (CRM). Access to more comprehensive CRM dashboards allows you to effectively segment marketing and coordinate sales and promotions—based on their interests and shopping habits—that keep customers engaged.
One of the major benefits of cloud POS, specifically for smaller retailers, is its scalable nature. With legacy on-premises systems, scaling for future growth requires extensive planning. Most businesses don’t have the time or resources to do that. The cloud offers brands and retailers the infrastructure and applications they need to do business, without paying for resources they aren’t using. You can choose to pay only for what you use, plus you have the ability to scale your cloud infrastructure in order to meet customer demand and internal processing/order fulfillment needs.
Faster Payment Processing
In the world of retail, instant gratification plays a huge role in customer acquisition and retention. Cloud POS software should have secure integrated payment processing capabilities; this allows you to keep up with the ever evolving landscape of digital payments.
Mobile pay, in particular, is becoming a widespread mode of payment among today’s digital-native consumer. As a result, retailers must be able to accommodate mobile payment processing; processors like Clover even accept contactless payments, such as Apple Pay.
The rise of 5G (i.e., the upcoming 5th generation wireless network) will make mobile payments lightning-fast and create avenues for more personalized experiences. Already, retailers are using wireless kiosks and tablets to expedite the checkout process.
61% of merchants want their POS systems to be cloud-based. (Forbes)
For brands and retailers, providing a seamless omnichannel shopping experience is everything. The industry is becoming increasingly competitive; however, technology is the great leveler. Whether you own a single store or 50 franchise locations, the future lies in cloud POS and its sister technologies. Though the market may be competitive, the tools are there to help you unlock your potential and grow exponentially.