What’s mPOS all about?

May 12, 2012

Customer Tracking, POS

On April 25th Motorola put out an incredible survey about Mobile POS Study. Over 20 pages of data, it contained a lot of interesting statistics about Mobile POS and  the retail industry;  after I poured through the data for the fifth or sixth time,  I realized that part of the conflicting statistics was caused by the number of conflicting definitions of what Mobile POS is. In some slides it was apparent that retailers considered Mobile POS as an engagement and interaction tool and in other slides it sounded like the respondents were thinking of POS enabled for mobile devices.  So i took a look at the slides again to see what secrets they would unlock as to what retailers felt Mobile POS was all about.

One thing that was clear from the onset was that mPOS is considered primary a tool to improve the customer experience in terms of providing relevant inventory and service information; while some retailers will no doubt use it to ring up sales, this was considered a secondary or tertiary function; today most deployments and solutions unfortunately focus on the backward looking function of ringing up sales and posting inventory movement to a central server.   Statistically 71.3% of retailers were interested in mPOS to improve the customer experience in the store. 

Another conclusion that I drew from the data was how retailers viewed the device. Nearly 30% of them were concerned about the cost of the device and a fifth felt the device was too large, presumably those that selected smaller (itouch like) devices made up the 21% that considered the screen too small;  with the proliferation of 5 and 7 inch Android tablets under $150, it was no surprise that over half of those surveyed anticipated that they would be deploying tablets in the future.  Over 52% also felt that they would allow their employees to utilize their own devices (presumably smartphones) to connect to their Cloud Admin Server.

So here are some things that surprised me, 55% of all respondents were still planning on accepting cash on these mPOS devices,  and only a little over 40% saw these as devices that could close out the sale. Presumably, this reflects the fact that the study also showed that most of them did not have the capabilities for digital receipts and were also concerned about theft of devices (given the cost of some of the mobile devices in use).

So what is mPOS; it has to be a solution that can run on a low cost device, with a screen that is large enough but not bulky. Ideally it would be a tool that the store associate would use to provide the consumer relevant information about the product, inventory and pricing levels. The device should also offer save the sale and close the sale functions in a simple, safe and  secure manner. The system should be fully integrated into the retailers operation, and solution providers ought to have expertise in cloud based solutions (ok I just added that one).  Finally any implementation should address  what happens in those instances where a customer wants a receipt and what’s the process for store associates removing security tags and bagging items.  

mPOS is not POS enabled for mobile, it is a much more effective tool that should be used to interact with the consumer, ultimately optimizing their experience with the brand!

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About Kevin

1001 opinions on how retailers leverage data to manage their inventory, employees, supply chain and optimize their customers' experiences. Have equally as many about red liquid in wine bottles, especially those from Napa Valley and the Santa Rita Hills.

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3 Comments on “What’s mPOS all about?”

  1. Laura Holland Says:

    Would you be interested in reworking the subject matter in this blog post for an original article to be published in The Green Sheet? If so, please email me; I’ll send you a writer’s agreement for your review. I’m the AVP, Editorial at The Green Sheet. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Reply

  2. http://yahoo.com Says:

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