Mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems boost sales by enabling fast, easy, and contact-free customer checkouts. In addition, these systems can be customized to provide access to coupons, promotions, and upsells to increase sales and drive profitability.
A mobile POS system is critical for retail companies in order to stay relevant on the increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape. The benefits of mobile POS, however, may be limited without full system integration that exposes critical customer information and real-time inventory data.
The key to success is setting a solid foundation based on API-led connectivity through a comprehensive integration platform like MuleSoft that unlocks the power of data. By integrating your POS system into a retail integration solution, you take functionality further by automating processes, improving inventory visibility, and increasing efficiency.
How Mobile POS Systems Work
Mobile POS systems vary in complexity depending on the needs of the enterprise. Most basic setups — such as those used by small businesses — typically include:
- A mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone
- POS software
- A card reader
- An internet connection
POS systems vary substantially depending on the business size, type, and industry. While a basic setup may suffice for a freelancer or trade professional, a more comprehensive system is needed for a large retailer looking to leverage the benefits of data connectivity.
POS systems used by large retail enterprises typically combine hardware and software to work together seamlessly and in real-time. Features of large-scale systems include real-time inventory tracking, increased customer personalization, improved supply chain visibility, data flow to multiple applications, and more.
Mobile POS Payment Methods
Mobile POS systems provide increased consumer flexibility by enabling a variety of payment types, including:
- Credit and debit cards with a Europay, Mastercard, or Visa (EMV) chip or magnetic stripe
- Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay
- QR codes
Mobile vs. Stationary POS
A stationary system typically comprises POS hardware in a fixed location, including a terminal, receipt printer, and cash drawer.
Many businesses integrate both mobile and stationary systems to process payments, provide financial data to accounting teams, run reports, and track inventory for physical and online stores.
Mobile POS Self-Checkout
Mobile POS self-checkout solutions are unattended POS systems that enable customers to place orders and self-checkout without the assistance of a staff member. The use of these systems grew substantially during COVID-19 to reduce contact between individuals during physical transactions.
Businesses can implement unattended POS systems by installing kiosks with smartphones or tablets. Connected applications and card readers enable customers to place orders and make payments with digital wallets, QR codes, or debit and credit cards. Purchased goods can then be picked up at a designated location or delivered to the customer’s location of choice.
How Card Processors Provide Secure Transactions
Security concerns continue to grow as digital transactions increase, prompting retailers to employ a range of security protocols.
Three primary security features that keep mobile POS payments secure include:
Encryption uses algorithms to encode data that can only be unlocked with a special key. Without access to the key, the payment data cannot be decoded if accessed during a security breach.
Instead of sending bank account or card numbers, some systems use tokenization — a string of randomly generated numbers that substitute for the actual card number. By replacing sensitive information with an alias, tokenization reduces the merchant’s risk while protecting consumer data.
Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) Chips
EMVs (or “chip” cards) contain more information than legacy “stripe” cards, enabling payment processors to run additional security checks.
Benefits of a Mobile POS
Mobile POS technology provides numerous benefits, depending on the size and complexity of the system.
Benefits of a basic mobile POS system include:
Low Set-Up Costs
A distinct advantage of modern mobile POS systems is that they are much more cost effective than traditional POS systems. Since most people already have a mobile device, a basic system can be quickly completed with a card reader and software subscription.
Most basic POS systems are easy to set up. All users need to do is install a POS app on their mobile devices and connect a card reader to accept payments from any connected location.
Better Customer Experiences
Mobile POS systems enable a fast and easy customer checkout system. Retailers can additionally customize the system to provide upsells and allow customers to access promotions and coupons.
Sales Reporting and Inventory Tracking
Most POS software provides dashboard and reporting features that give users valuable sales insights. In addition to providing sales data, some applications also provide inventory tracking.
Easy to Scale
POS software is typically sold as a cloud-based subscription model, allowing users to quickly scale up as their business grows.
Large Retailers Require an Integrated Solution
While standalone mobile POS systems may benefit small businesses with low transaction volumes, large retailers require a more integrated solution that takes multiple business operations into account.
Packaged Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications help support advanced functions required by modern retailers. MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform is an integration solution that enables easy integration with ERP systems, allowing businesses to:
- Provide data to a master data management system, including purchase history, billing, and shipping details
- Increase personalization based on customer preferences
- Manage inventory efficiently
- Process transactions during trade promotions
- Send data automatically to accounting, marketing, and customer service departments
- Increase supply chain management visibility via connected IoT devices
Integrated Mobile POS Systems Usher In Digital Transformation and Evolution
Digital evolution in the retail sector is here, and it’s changing how consumers purchase goods. Modern consumers are leveraging the benefits of digital shopping experiences, such as increased product variety, lower prices, and home delivery. As a result, they are unlikely to shift back to traditional retail models. In addition, retail experiences are constantly changing as they evolve from anonymous, transactional relationships to deeper connections that optimize the buying process.
Mobile POS solutions are part of the technological stack required by businesses to adapt to the constantly evolving retail landscape. Other emerging trends enhanced by POS systems include:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) leverage human-like digital “intelligence” to progressively improve performance through the use of algorithms that process collected data. As mobile POS systems collect more data, these applications further optimize the buying process while providing data-driven insights that enhance decision-making.
Social shopping takes products from online stores to user feeds on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. With the use of POS applications provided by these platforms, retailers can boost conversions and increase online ordering.
Customer segmentation is central to marketing. However, data collected from consumers is rapidly leading to a “segment of one” that enables total personalization. POS systems that integrate with marketing software fully leverage this trend by offering relevant recommendations that take shopping habits, browsing history, location, and social media data into account.
Use Case: How a Major Clothing Brand Used a Mobile POS System to Improve Efficiency and Increase Sales
A prominent clothing store wanted to increase sales and improve the buying experience by adding an additional layer of convenience for its customers. In addition, they wanted sales associates to be able to serve customer needs from any connected location instead of being tied to a stationary legacy system.
- Poor visibility by not being able to see in-stock items at other locations
- Customers were tied to a specific location and unable to purchase online items from different locations
- Lack of data flow to produce meaningful customer analytics
- Inability to see analytics across all locations
Client’s Ideal Future State:
The overall goal was to adopt a Mobile POS system that would improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and unlock the benefits of real-time data.
The retailer adopted a mobile POS system that allowed associates to:
- Check out customers from anywhere in the store
- Find in-stock items from multiple locations
- Order items for delivery or pickup
Benefits of the solution included:
- Eliminated lines
- Faster, more personalized, and easier checkouts
- In-store roaming POS systems
- Built-in loyalty programs
- Real-time product lookup across locations
- Integration with accounting, order management, and order tracking software
Why Retailers Need a Comprehensive Mobile POS Strategy
Customer expectations are growing with technological innovation, creating more competition as retail businesses increasingly turn to technology to personalize the buying process.
AVIO helps businesses adapt to the competitive retail landscape with MuleSoft Anypoint, the integration platform that enables retailers to:
- Connect POS, marketing, and loyalty systems to provide a comprehensive view of your customers
- Unify your brand across multiple in-store, online, and social media channels
- Integrate customer profiles with MuleSoft’s Accelerator for Retail to sync profiles, streamline and consolidate data, and secure sensitive information
- Sync inventory positions across multiple systems to display real-time stock information
Set a Successful Foundation with a Solid POS Strategy
System integration is critical to unlocking all the benefits of a mobile POS system. In addition to improving the customer experience and boosting sales, this approach leads to better inventory management, reduced errors, and streamlined operational processes.
AVIO has enabled leading enterprises to fully unlock the power of data and improve operations across the entire retail value chain.