Cash was king for long, till plastic cards came and usurped its throne. Today net banking, mobile wallets, near-field communication, and biometric payments are steadily catching up. Is it time to dump your traditional POS systems?
Typically on weekends or when a SALE is on, shopping centres are choc-a-block with shoppers jostling for space. People throng the display areas to check out goods, merchandise is lying scattered all around, and payment counters are overloaded with long queues. It can become a frustrating experience for many.
On such days it takes a genuine shopper almost two hours to navigate in and out of a large departmental store. First he/she will spend almost an hour selecting the merchandise, then about half an hour trying it on and then another 20-25 minutes or so at the payment counter.
The POS systems that are currently deployed for billing and payments are simply not equipped to handle such a load. A POS system typically requires 200 – 1000 sq ft space in multi-brand outlets. Considering the sky-high mall rentals, the cost becomes even more significant. Plus there are investments to be made in hardware, software, and staff salaries. Even then the results are sub-optimal and customers frequently complain of long waiting times at the counters.
To overcome the POS bottleneck, smart stores are adopting the Mobile POS Systems, which typically consist of a small handheld card reader, a portable barcode scanner, and a smartphone.
Any salesperson in the store can collect payment from the customer at any place without any hassle. The Android POS application is simply downloaded onto the salesperson’s smart phone using Google play store. The login and other credentials are supplied to the salesperson by the company for using the application.
In the new scenario, a customer would simply pick a merchandise from the display counter and hand it over to the salesperson along with her debit/credit card. The salesperson would scan the product, then insert the card into the card reader, and finally receive the payment through the Android application installed on his phone. In a matter of simply 3-4 minutes, the payment would be made! The customer can collect the bill and walk out with the shopping bag in her hands and a smile on her face.
The Mobile POS System offers unparalleled convenience, flexibility and space savings in comparison to the conventional POS system. With several software features and add ons, the system enables instant fulfilment, inventory and sales management, customer service, accounts etc. The system can also be used to monitor sales staff attendance, working hours, performance, commissions etc.
Today mobile POS systems are finding increasing acceptance because retailers can provide a more personalized sales experience, better interaction with the customers, lower costs, and flexibility to salespersons.
Even small businesses such as convenience stores, bakeries, beauty salons, car rentals, and restaurants are accepting payments from customers using just a handheld swipe device and a smart phone.
Most importantly, mobile POS systems also allow stores to free up their floor space, manage rush hours better, and allow customers to complete the transaction from any part of the store without the need to stand in queue or wait their turn at the billing counters.
So coming back to the question of whether you should dump your POS systems. The answer is both Yes & No. Yes, because there is certainly a need for more dynamic system that is in tune with modern realities. And No, because a Mobile POS system, which is a marriage of modern software with plastic cards, can drastically improve your payment infrastructure. Therefore, the debate is wide open.
Here we summarize some popular Android POS systems available in the market for you:
Clover is a popular system in the retail and restaurant industries. The system can handle both quick-service stores and restaurants where customers order and pay at the same time as well as stores offering a full shopping experience. It also offers great flexibility as you start with the base software and can add features that you need by installing them directly through the app market
GoPago offers dedicated hardware and ease-to-use software for businesses in the retail and food industry. This system is best used for QSR restaurants and food industry services, such as cafeterias and food trucks, where customers order and pay for their food at the same time.
Groovv POS offers a system for a variety of businesses such as convenience stores, restaurants, salons and most types of hypermarkets. The company offers a low per-swipe fee of 1.59%, but its monthly subscription fees vary based on how many and what type of hardware units you have. Groovv stands out for its wide choice of hardware bundles and its great marketing tools.
The Leaf system caters to retail and food sectors. Leaf system is hosted in its own propriety seven-inch tablet. One major benefit of having Android POS software hosted on dedicated company hardware is the locked-down system, which prevents employee distractions on internet or other apps. The Leaf tablet also has a built-in card reader that is securely encrypted for processing credit cards.
Square Register is a flexible solution for any type of business looking for a mobile, streamlined system. Its pricing structure is based on flat per-swipe fees that the system takes out automatically before transferring funds to your bank account. The Square Reader can accept cards with chips or magnetic stripes. The Square system also has options for tracking employees besides reports on employee sales. You can even set customizable user roles for your employees to dictate which employees have access to which features.
With new-age payment systems evolving by the day, some retailers, however, face the risk of facts being lost in translation. At India Retail Forum (IRF) 2015 on 15-16th September at Mumbai, retail technology specialists and e-commerce companies will be demystifying the science and application of next-generation payment systems in a tailored panel discussion at the concurrent event India Omnichannel Forum (IOF). Srinivas Rao, GM & Director, Amazon India Payments will be leading and moderating the discussion, with other panelists being Hrishikesh Pore, Head – Grocery Online, My247market.com; Philippe Nobile, Director and MD – France, Javelin Group; Sandeep Singh, CEO, FreeCultr.com; Vishwas Shringi, CEO & Founder, Voyella.com and Yasho Saboo, CEO, Ethos Summit.