mPOS has been a payments enabler and sales driver for the long tail of micro and small businesses alike. The credit card-reading cellphone device popularized by Square is now a must-have business tool that has greatly expanded the universe of payment options. What has not been as easily developed is the omnichannel service capabilities now required by retail merchants of any size.
One of the biggest buzzwords in commerce today is omnichannel. In the simplest terms, omnichannel means that no matter which channel is the touch point of the moment to the consumer – a payment terminal in a store, an online storefront, or a retailer’s app on a mobile device – their experience should be seamless, streamlined, secure and optimised for the needs of each channel.
But more often than not a very important piece of the omnichannel puzzle is left out: a mobile point of sale (mPOS) solution. More and more retailers are employing mPOS solutions both inside and outside stores on top of their existing payment solutions, and they need to consider how to tie those mobile solutions in with their existing POS infrastructure – otherwise, it’s impossible to provide a true omnichannel experience
To remain competitive, mPOS providers are increasingly developing wider payments platforms. By adding front-end and back-office functionality and targeting merchants higher up the value chain, mPOS is becoming more attractive to merchants of any scale. This functionality includes a range of additional peripherals and new software features such as inventory management, loyalty programs, and even online payment services. Many of these platforms are now capable of handling a variety of payment types through the dongle beyond cards, and are more adaptable to future payment innovation.
As with any evolving systems, technology and software solutions will drive a true mPOS omnichannel experience. This will occur when medium and large scale merchants look to payments acquirers gateways, and their partners to provide an integrated customer experience including shopping, ordering, and post-sales support, as well as to provide supply side enhancements such as marketing programs, analytics, and service. There has not yet been the widespread mPOS movement by large-scale merchants to justify development by payments tech vendors. It will take the consumer demand side to push this evolution to the next step.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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