There are two primary ways for businesses to accept payments from customers. The traditional method is a full-fledged point-of-sale (POS) system containing a touchscreen, barcode scanner, cash register, credit card terminal and receipt printer. Then there are mobile payment systems that process payments using a mobile app and credit card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet. Mobile payment systems include digital or mobile wallets that store credit or debit card information to process payments online. They are designed to accept credit card payments at any time. Modern POS systems have now combined the two methods of accepting payments to create a major convenience for businesses that use them.
If your business currently has a traditional POS system, it’s time to switch to a modern mobile POS system. The benefits of using a mobile POS system go far beyond what traditional options can do.
“Mobile systems … both augment and replace traditional POS systems,” said Rick Caldarella, former vice president of product management at Veracity Payment Solutions. “[But] POS systems will continue to stick around because they still serve a critical purpose for merchants.”
In just a few short years, POS systems have made substantial progress.
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Newer POS systems have shown progress through increased security measures, especially in mobile POS systems. It’s necessary to stay up to date with infrastructure that can protect your company and its customers’ private information.
“Security and liability concerns are critical to the types of businesses who utilize POS systems to run their shops,” Caldarella said.
Compromised customer information can have costly consequences for businesses and consumers. According to an IBM study, stolen data costs companies an average of $180 per credit card number, which they pass on to consumers by increasing credit card fees.
Modern POS systems have multiple ways to accept payment from consumers. Different payment options save time for both businesses and consumers while increasing sales due to flexibility. There’s no need to look at traditional POS systems and mobile credit card processors as mutually exclusive. Businesses can combine the two methods to provide better service and enhance customer satisfaction.
Businesses and customers can save time using different ways to purchase items. Customers prefer a quick checkout process and are less likely to visit a business with a slow payment system. A POS system can offer your customers these options:
As long as your POS system has the right safety measures in place, you can save customers’ payment methods for speedy checkout. This is especially convenient for frequent customers.
“With data security becoming an increasing concern, it is critical to deliver the safest way for your customers to pay in order to protect both you and them,” said Jared Isaacman, CEO of POS systems provider Harbortouch.
As most business owners know, a POS system is much more than a functional register. With all the features a POS system has, it can be considered an all-in-one system.
POS systems may not be able to carry out the full payroll process, but it makes payroll easier for business owners. You can track your employees’ hours, create schedules and log requested time off for each employee through a POS system. Taxes can be deducted more accurately according to employees’ time worked.
POS data can be used for advertising and marketing purposes. This data can help businesses target audiences and create personalized promotions. Some POS systems have built-in marketing tools, such as loyalty program setup and management. POS data also makes it much easier to send out targeted emails to customers. [Related: 3 Ways to Offer a Customer Loyalty Program]
You can automate your inventory tracking through a POS system. If you receive inventory, your POS system can automatically generate purchase-order numbers. It can also alert you to low stock of any item.
Obviously, customer service is extremely important in a business’s success. Service businesses have the most to gain from using a POS system. Live chat software can integrate with POS systems to assist with customer support. Appointment confirmations and status updates can also enhance customer service.
The reports POS systems can generate with all the data they collect can be beneficial in many ways. Business owners should always track certain metrics within their business, which can be different for every field.
For retail stores, a POS system can track the average transaction value, gross margins, sales per employee and items per purchase. Restaurants can track metrics such as labor costs, food costs, average check amount and how many guests they service in any interval.
Upgrading your POS system doesn’t necessarily mean replacing it. The familiarity and security of a traditional POS system combined with the perks of a mobile POS system could be all your business needs.
“The key for retailers here is to supplement the experience, not supplant [it] with technology,” said Michael Ni, CMO of FinancialForce. “For instance, Apple and Walmart offer a ‘buy online, pick it up in store’ option, where consumers can use mobile devices to order items and then physically pay for them using a traditional POS system at the store.”
[Read related article: 5 Reasons You Need a Mobile POS System for Your Restaurant]
Brandi Calero-Holmes contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.