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Millennials’ entrepreneurial spirit points to boost in mobile POS use

Millennials’ apparent enthusiasm for starting and running their own businesses, a sharp departure from their parents’ chosen career paths, points to the wisdom of retailers’ shifting their point-of-sale to mobile devices, research suggests.

If a Payscout survey’s findings are on the mark, mobile POS is indeed the future for bricks-and-mortar retailers because millennials, accustomed as customers to having information and capabilities on smartphones and tablets, will want the same seamless shopping experiences for customers they serve in their own businesses. The findings paint a picture of how the business world of the mid-21st century, driven by the soon-to-be-dominant millennial generation, will be very different from that of the past.

“Millennials have to a large degree grown up with mobile, making this generation more likely to adapt to behaviors that involve using their mobile device,” said Chuck Martin, CEO of the Mobile Future Institute and author of “Mobile Influence.”

“They are more likely to be open to paying with their phone and even paying in-aisle, negating the need to involve a checkout cashier.

“As this behavior migrates, retailers will have to be ready to adapt to this generation,” he said.

Unique vision
Millennials, who will make up 75 percent of the American workforce by 2025, have developed their own unique vision of success, according to a Bentley University study.

A small minority (13 percent) of surveyed millennials – young professionals born in and after the early to mid-1980s – see their career goal involving climbing the corporate ladder to become a CEO or president, according to the survey.

The future for bricks and mortar retailers?

In contrast, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) see their career goal involving starting and running their own business.

The findings fit with a recent Deloitte poll that found 70 percent of surveyed millennials would reject traditional business to work independently.

In a separate study, one in five said they wanted to quit their current jobs and go out on their own.

For those who have done so, 90 percent were optimistic about upcoming business prospects. Nearly half (44 percent) hired new employees during the first half of the year.

And more than half (52 percent) indicated they intended to have new hires before the year’s end.

Helping drive both the pace of millennial business startups and the optimism they engender is technology’s making it easier than ever before to start a company.

Technology has leveled the playing field by opening up access to the assets necessary to start a business.

Among the capabilities now available as software-as-a-service add-ons are systems designed to help build and organize online communities around a particular issue or cause.

This is attractive to millennials because they increasingly fuse their social and personal concerns with their professional lives.

Millennials are driving an ever-growing trend of capitalism-with-a-conscience through their collective buying power of over $200 billion annually and their deep-rooted desire to do good.

“Millennials’ competitive advantage comes from embracing a culture of a multitude of mobile application solutions to generate a quick response to individual needs,” said Cleveland Brown, Payscout’s CEO.

“Furthermore, millennials are blending the mobile applications in creative and efficient ways that constructs their life experiences, whether those experiences be driving, shopping, communication, gaming and processing payments.

“Through these experiences the millennial entrepreneur is identifying ways a combination of mobile applications can create business opportunities through seamless shopping experiences across all traditional goods and services,” he said.

“The entrepreneurial millennials are driving the mobile technology application community to build solutions that conform to the immediate satisfaction needs of their culture.”

The digital and mobile revolution has paved the way for the age of the entrepreneurial millennial.

Mobile POS could be the future for bricks-and-mortar retailers because it enables associates to engage directly with customers, while the next step will be enabling customers with their own POS.

While retailers are still exploring the opportunities that mobile offers, they recognize that more customers expect to be able to interact within the retail environment with their mobile device. As a result, store associates often have less information than their customers.

Retailers have already given customers most of the traditional functionality that exists in POS and with mobile shopping cart and payment abilities, retailers can put POS in their customers’ hands to create an omnichannel shopping experience where a sales associate can be empowered to  interact with customers in new ways.

Some of the other opportunities that retailers are exploring in mobile include offering customers the ability to use social networking through their mobile phone to share their shopping experience with friends. This is an area that Boston Retail Partners expects to grow significantly over the next few years based on strong consumer interest in social media.

High expectations
Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to figure out how to embrace social shopping since the social aspect is still a big reason customers go to stores.

Starbucks in-store payments system.

“Millennials have increasingly high expectations that their shopping experiences will be totally interactive and across all digital channels,” Mr. Martin said. “They also will expect easy mobile checkout along with such features as fee delivery and in-store pickup after mobile or online ordering.

“They also expect the best prices, which they will easily search for via their mobile device.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.