Guest Column | February 27, 2014

6 Reasons Tablet POS Systems Are Here To Stay

By Russ Harty, SVP Key Account and Partner Channels, Cayan

Tablet POS Is Here To Stay

Retailers often spend significant time determining the layout, décor, and other aesthetic aspects of their shops. They rightly focus on ensuring a consistent brand experience exists for customers throughout the store. Yet businesses that have wanted their countertop devices to fit in with their brand image often have limited options.

While this might seem like a superficial concern, the fact is — on top of being easy on the eyes — today’s consumer-tech-based POS (point of sale) systems are well-equipped to handle the complexities of modern retail. With the advent of tablet computers, smartphones, and cloud-based software, today’s merchants have the opportunity to choose from a variety of POS systems designed with their individual needs in mind.

Though they may not meet the needs of all retailers, tablet POS systems can be a great choice, especially since the more common tablets, like iPads, Android tablets, and even Microsoft Surface, have been all been repurposed for use at the point of sale by various developers.

Still not sure if a tablet-based POS system makes sense for you or your retail customers? Here are a few considerations:

  1. User Friendliness: Most retailers will find that their employees learn how to use tablet POS systems far faster than legacy systems. Tablet offerings tend to be intuitive and easy to get started with, which means the learning curve is low and employees can get back to serving customers quickly — important considerations when it comes to choosing a POS system.
  2. Flexibility: Tablet POS systems often provide a great amount of flexibility. For example, many tablet POS systems make it easy for store owners and managers to access their business's information from any place and on any device. Often they are also able to add and remove features as needed, something that many tablet POS systems make simple as a result of their “app store” type interface. Flexibility at the POS means being able to have all the features you need and none you don't.
  3. Mobility: Similarly, if a business has any sort of mobile component — if it occasionally sells at farmers’ markets or fairs, for example — then business owners may want to access the same system while accepting payments through a mobile device. Even if a business doesn’t currently have a mobile component, switching to a tablet POS system can make it much easier to test out an additional source of revenue. Suddenly, the store isn’t contained within four walls; it can instead operate anywhere the tablet or associated smart device is carried.
  4. Extendibility: Tablets can extend the POS system and enable retailers to accept payments both at the countertop and throughout the store. Again, this seemingly minor interaction can actually have a big impact because, if a customer is able to check out right where they are, it introduces the opportunity to engage in deeper conversation — away from the countertop — while showing the customer the business cares about their time and values their purchase.
  5. Business Intelligence: Consumerized POS systems can be a huge help in streamlining inventory, managing revenue, and delivering a quality customer experience. Features like customized marketing and engagement programs can mean the difference between a struggling or successful business. Some traditional POS systems do offer business intelligence, but the next-generation, tablet-based POS systems that we see on the market today make analytics and reporting simple, clean, and elegant, thereby increasing the odds that managers will actually use it enabling retailers to turn raw data into helpful and actionable insights for your business.
  6. Aesthetics: Finally, as I alluded to at the start of this article, retailers should think about how the style of their POS system fits into their overall image and the experience customers have in their stores. While being able to pay through, and sign on, a tablet may be seen as a "nice-to-have." Small details like this can have a surprisingly huge impact on customer impressions.

While style doesn’t need to be the number-one consideration, it is important for both resellers and retail business owners to consider how the marriage of form and function can bring about a better customer experience and facilitate a more successful business overall. For some, tablet POS systems can help make that a reality.