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How mobile point-of-sale goes beyond checkout

By Josh Goodwin

For many retailers, a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system will not replace the traditional POS counter.

The mPOS model works for a retail store such as Apple because it is selling only one or two small items and emailing most receipts.

But that process is not always realistic for a clothing retailer who uses the checkout counter for several functions. It needs a place to scan multiple items, remove security tags, provide a bag, receipt and possibly a promotional card.

The checkout counter is also a place where merchants showcase goods to upsell. If you take that away, you could be missing out on sales.

Retailers should think of mPOS as more than just mobile checkout.

If your mPOS systems have access to shopper and inventory information, it can help sales associates engage with customers at the time of decision.

Single source of data
Many retailers unsuccessfully comb through a hairball of fragmented integrations where their bricks-and-mortar stores are disconnected from their Web site and distribution centers.

So before you can start empowering your sales associates with a mobile device, you need to have a single system for order, customer and inventory data from all channels. This data can then be supplied to the mPOS device and other customer facing systems such as ecommerce or customer care.

This single system will eliminate duplication and fragmentation while delivering real-time data and creating efficiencies and opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Make the sales associate the expert
Giving sales associates access to accurate, real-time information on inventory, product specs and reviews allows them to offer real value to the customer on the floor.

Today’s consumer has so much information at her fingertips. By the time she has walked into a store, she has probably researched a product extensively online.

Sales associates on the floor usually do not have the same access to content, or if they do, it requires them to leave the customer.

A handy mobile device can level the playing field by giving the sales associate quick access to the same product information and reviews that the customer has researched. Now the sales associate is not only seen as the expert, but also providing real value to the customer.

Insight into your shoppers
Not only does mPOS give sales associates the tools to look up product information on the spot, but it also gives them access to detailed data about the customer – one of the most valuable benefits of using mPOS.

The key is to know your customer as soon as she enters the store.

Imagine a customer walking in and being greeted by an associate who can pull up her order history, or her wish list from your online site.

This type of access gives the associate unprecedented insight into the customer’s favorite brands, colors and sizes. It also makes the customer feel like the sales associate actually knows her and can be of value– not just telling her what is on sale.

The alternative is the associate trying to gather all of this information during a long conversation that many customers do not even want to start.

Endless aisle
Shoppers want what they want, when they want it – if it is not available at your store, they will turn to your competitors to buy it.

MPOS solutions can prevent losing a sale by providing endless-aisle capability.

With real-time, enterprise wide inventory data being provided to your mPOS, store employees can immediately locate and allocate the products for the customer without ever leaving her side. They can arrange for the item to be delivered to their desired location or picked up at a store, ensuring that the customer has a great shopping experience and the sale is made.

WITH MPOS SOLUTIONS on a unified platform, retailers can seamlessly connect inventory and customer information to engage customers more effectively, drive more sales and provide a delightful shopping experience.

Cutting-edge retailers know that mPOS goes beyond mobile checkout. It is about offering on the spot service and interacting with the customer where the customer is shopping.

Josh Goodwin is group product manager for NetSuite Global Business Unit, a San Mateo, CA-based provider of cloud-based omnichannel software and a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle. Reach him at [email protected]