Top 5 Trends in Retail Point of Sale (POS)
Traditional brick and mortar stores, still latching on to obsolete technologies are gradually withering out from the retail market. As mentioned in my previous blog (How Retailers are Improving Customer Engagement with Digital In Store Experiences?), providing a highly engaging in-store experience is extremely essential for retailers to increase customer footfalls and sales. Hence, nowadays companies are adopting an aggressive digital strategy like using AI for personalization, innovating the retail point of sale systems, increase in usage of virtual mirrors etc. to provide an excellent in-store experience for their customers.
There are several advantages of using a mobile POS instead of a traditional retail point of sale system:
- With the increase in usage of smartphones and tablets, buying of products are getting increasingly cost effective. Hence, there is no need of installing a costly POS machine.
- Mobile POS offers an excellent omni-channel experience for customers as they can buy online and pick up the products from stores.
Digital innovation in retail point of sale started with Amazon soft launching its smart shopping wand known as Dash. It came as a Harry Potter’s magic wand in the world of retail and made in house retailing look ridiculously easy. All that a customer has to do is to scan the bar-code attached to products which he/she wants to buy, from inside his/her house. The orders will be placed and the products will be delivered the very next day. In case of product not having a bar-code, like fruits, vegetables, etc., the customer has to say the product name in the wand. For example, if he wants to buy an apple then he will just say ‘apple’ to the wand and apples will be delivered the next day.
Although now a days there are lots of shopping apps which can scan bar-codes or help preparing a personalized product, Amazon Dash is a dedicated shopping instrument which is portable, convenient and more importantly tangible.
There are several other retail point of sale innovations apart from Amazon Dash, which can disrupt the entire retail sector. Few of those innovations in the retail point of sales are:
#1 No Checkout Store:
Imagine a store where you go, simply choose an item and walk out of the store. The payment will be done automatically the moment you walk out of the store. There is no physical retail POS machine or no need to scan any codes. This idea is implemented by Amazon Go. Customers are logged into the store’s network by tapping their mobile at the store’s entrance. It uses machine learning, sensors and artificial intelligence to track the items that customers pick up from the shelf. The item is added to a customer’s virtual cart, the moment they place that item in their actual cart. The moment they walk out of the store, the payments are charged from their amazon go account.
#2 Mobile POS app:
Now, no more going to a nearby coffee outlet, ordering and waiting for the coffee to be served. A customer can simply order their own customized coffee through a mobile app and pay online. Then all that a customer has to do, is to go to a nearby coffee outlet and ask for the regular. UK based coffee business house Harris and Hoole have started this system, thereby simplifying the entire process of customization and payment to a great extent. It is something that coffee businesses like Starbuck or Cafe Coffee Day will be following in future.
Another UK based company Runner’s Need has also started a similar kind of system. Here, instead of an app, a customer can choose a shoe through their website, customize it’s color and then pay online. Thereafter, he/she can go to the store to collect the product.
Casino Supermarkets in France are also making full use of the NFC technology, where a customer can buy a product by simply scanning the bar-code on it using a smart phone app. Scanning the code will automatically load the product onto the basket and then the price can be paid online.
#3 Window Shopping with tablets :
It is another way of enhancing customer experience where customers are not required to go to the retail outlets at all. Products are kept in the window and a giant tablet is provided along with the window to allow the customers choose products. They can choose any color of the displayed products from the range provided and place an order. Delivery to the desired location is made within 1 hour.
Such kind of window shopping is tried by American fashion design house, Kate Spade New York and is a huge success.
#4 Pay with your Face:
The Birmingham Hotel came up with an innovative way to handle retail point of sale. Here, all that a customer has to do is to simply smile during the checkout. A picture is taken and if that picture matches with the Paypal profile picture of the customer, then automatically the money will be deducted from their Paypal account. Such is the simplicity of the system.
#5 Pay By Voice:
Pay by voice is a new technology used in POS. The new service is called Voice Pay, founded by Nick Ogden. It uses voice analyzer to authenticate user. To use Voice Pay, customers need to create a new Voice Pay account. Customers can shop online from the participating stores, by clicking on Voice Pay icon on the store website. Voice pay will then call the customer on his/her registered phone number and an automated attendant will verify the voice of the customer. Then that same attendant will assist the customer in choosing products. To proceed with payment, all that a customer has to do is to tell, ‘yes’ and the payment will be done.
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