Imagine a retail, restaurant, or service environment wherethe following dynamics are the rule of the day. Simply, business as usual…
Shorter lines — notbecause more registers are open, but because checkout time has beendramatically reduced and traffic is moving faster.
Increased sales — notbecause prices have been slashed, but because more customers are being servedper hour.
Competitive advantage —not because of an increased ad spend, but because of enhanced consumerexperiences.
Bigger profits — notbecause tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to efficiency experts, butbecause a low-cost, high-return mobile payments technology now has customers,sales, and revenue flowing, quite literally, like never before.
What’s the secret weapon in this Utopian commerce dream? Nosecret, no dream. Just the new revolution at retail: the mobile POS tablet — ortPOS, for short.
The tPOS Tablet: ADexterous Capacity for Delivering
These days, there is nothing necessarily new orrevolutionary about tablets, in and of themselves — beyond, of course, theirsteady evolution in capability, capacity, and processing power. But the factthat they have become so commonplace in our personal and professional circles —so basic a thread in the fabric of our integrated digital lives — is what makesthem such a compelling tool for revolutionizing virtually any customer-facingexperience; particularly, the interaction between a merchant and a customer.They are light, comfortable, and highly mobile. They are sleek and compact.Their application-driven interfaces make them easy to learn and use, especiallyfor younger employees who not only comprise the majority of the retail andrestaurant workforce, but who are growing up using tablets every day. Thesedevices also deliver a superb graphical experience that has unlimited customerengagement potential. And finally, lets admit it: Tablets are still kind of cool.
It is because of this universal familiarity with tabletsthat we are seeing their professional use rapidly emerging from behind thecubicles, corridors, and conference rooms of enterprise operations to the veryfrontlines of consumer commerce — stockrooms, showrooms, service shops, and morenoticeably, as an untethered, free-flowing mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS) device throughoutthe retail store. In fact, the entire in-store merchant/shopper dynamic isbeing completely redefined. The Platt Retail Institute recently observed that “traditional“cash wraps” as we know them, will disappear as mobile POS and cashlesspayments are broadly accepted. Wait times will be eventually eliminated” —which is exactly what we are witnessing today.
Busting Free of the CheckoutParadigm
Line busting and in-aisle checkout are becoming the new normin retail environments. Armed with highly secure, fully functioning,transaction-capable mobile tablets, employees can now move about the sales orservice space with point-of-sale in tow. This extension of the traditionalcheckout counter can result in greater customer satisfaction, as well asincreased efficiency and sales potential for the merchant.
For example, right upon exiting a fitting room, a shoppercan purchase an article of clothing that he or she has just tried on and leavethe store fully processed, without having to approach the checkout counter. Forshoppers in busy stores, this is an extremely appealing option. It is especiallyideal for nimble shoppers who are looking to zip-in and zip-out with only oneor two items, without having to wait on the same checkout line with othershoppers whose arms or carts are loaded with merchandise. While the staffer transactsthe sale on the spot, removes any security devices, and perhaps even bags theitem, the shopper is free to either dash out the store in a fraction of thetime it would have normally taken to do the same, or, while being served, continueshopping. Either way, the choice is now theirs. No more waiting, fretting, orgrumbling on lines that taint the shopping experience. And that very sametablet could be used by staff to showthe customer in-store and online merchandise that may complement what they justpurchased — a new opportunity for upselling that’s just not possible at thecheckout counter.
Similar interactions can be just as easily applied toservice-based business environments. For instance, customers who already had towait to be served, no longer need to wait again just for the privilege of beingcharged. In the same initial engagement, both service and checkout can beefficiently performed — all conducted, by the way, on the same multifunctionaltablet. In the case of restaurants, diners need no longer see their creditcards whisked out of sight by the wait staff and taken to a remote checkoutcenter in some dark corner of the restaurant. With a secure mobile POS tablet,orders can be taken, selections transmitted to both bar and kitchen, and later,after the meal, payments can be swiftly accepted, cash or card — all in plainsight, easy a pie, right there at the table. The resulting experience is notjust pleasant for the customer, but from the viewpoint of the restaurateur, thetime savings will translate into turning tables more quickly and efficiently —a goal of every eatery.
Many Happy Returns
More return customers. Increased return business. A tangible,valuable return on investment. These are not just hoped for possibilities; theseare the reasonable and expectable outcomes of deploying tPOS solutions. And, comparedto such multipurpose, smarter-than-smartphone devices, traditionalmade-for-purpose point-of-sale terminals simply pale in comparison.
When aligned with a full-service, technology partner — aprovider who can set up a store, shop, office, or restaurant with tPOS solutionsthat boast all the latest bells and whistles — businesses can expect numerousbenefits in terms of improved operations, performance, and returns. For example:
• A flexible extension of the POS ecosystem with fully integrated tPOStablets that can just as easily scan barcodes and checkout customers asreconcile back-office ops, review inventory, process coupons and promotions, connectwith the cloud, and report back to corporate headquarters — all on the spot.
• Mobile devices loaded with proprietary and patented hardware and softwaretechnologies that are certified and highly secure mPOS terminals — with allcard acceptance methodologies onboard, whether mag stripe, EMV chip & pin,or contactless.
•Tablets can be physically outfitted with all necessary hardware add-ons— from custom-fitted card swipe sleds to convenient auxiliary batteries — aswell as receive feature and security updates via wireless software pushes.
• An elite, free-flowing, customer-delighting staff that leverages mobilepayments innovation to shorten lines, add value, enhance experiences,accelerate interactions, and dramatically multiply daily sales.
• A physical environment with less time, people, and square footagedevoted to traditional checkout operations and more of those same resources allocatedto precious sales and service areas, where relationships are forged, revenue isgenerated and loyalty is instilled.
Time to Tap In Is Now
Look around. Tablets at retail have arrived, and they are apparentlyhere to stay. While we shouldn’t expect them to completely supplant thetraditional checkout experience, we see them being implemented with greaterfrequency at retail as a strategic service, promotional, and CustomerRelationship Management (CRM) tool. The explosion is well underway. It’s time totap in.
(Mitch Cobrin is Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Anywhere Commerce,)