Mobile point-of-sale is transforming the retail industry in a way few technologies have done before. For small merchants, the benefits of installing mPOS technology include not just low-cost card acceptance on smartphones and tablets but also access to the value-added retail management software offered by traditional POS systems, but at a lower price. For large retailers, mPOS provides a way to improve customer service and to respond to showrooming. This guide covers the basics, including:
Bulky cash registers are a thing of the past for small and medium-sizes businesses (SMBs), as smartphone- and tablet-based systems with attached card readers become more prevalent. Another benefit of these mPOS devices is that they can be used for line busting during peak store hours.
While micro-merchants may find it sufficient to attach an mPOS card reader or dongle to a smartphone or tablet, large retailers typically need more sophisticated "mobile-register" solutions that offer more than payments acceptance, with additional features including real-time inventory checking, loyalty, ordering and product information.
To reap the benefit of those value-added features, retailers need to ensure their mPOS systems are fully integrated with their existing POS systems.
Instead of using dongles, larger retailers typically deploy sleeves encasing the mobile device being used as the interface to conduct card transactions, or integrated tablet-based solutions consisting of purpose-built, all-in-one mPOS devices. The advantage of sleeves is that they are more robust than dongles and can include barcode readers for price and inventory checks.
Another option is to deploy countertop tablet stands containing a tablet and card reader and linking to hardware accessories such as receipt printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners.