Q&A | September 25, 2013

Retailers' Christmas Lists Might Include Mobile POS

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Mobile Cloud POS

It’s still a couple of months before Black Friday. Although that day isn’t as epic to VARs as it is to the retailers they serve, right now there could be an opportunity for resellers also to capitalize on the traditional holiday shopping day. 

Nick D'Alessio, global retail practice leader at Zebra, says now is a good time to check if your retail customers are interested in piloting mobile POS. In surveys that Zebra conducted, line busting is high on the list of retailers’ needs at busy times — and high on the list of why they are considering mobile POS. D' Alessio comments that the holidays could be a good time to test whether a mobile POS solution can handle the stress the season puts on a technology.

The company’s surveys also show over the next few years, retailers are planning to pilot and implement mobile POS. D'Alessio points out the definition of “mobile” isn’t always the same — some refer to consumer-facing systems for mobile payment and some are referring to tablet POS — but he says more than 40 percent of retailers have some pilot in process. As early as 2011, retailers were starting to explore their options. “What we see now is people starting to choose the solutions they want. In 2014, we’re going to see a greenfield of opportunity.”

In addition to line busting, features of mobile POS that have been important to tier-one and tier-two retailers include  ruggedability, security, and remote management. Tier-three retailers might lean toward consumer-grade tablets, so they might be looking for ways to make them more durable. Merchants are also interested in PCI compliance and mobile payment. With the October 2015 deadline for Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) certification for POS systems approaching, D'Alessio points out, “Retailers are looking for a two-for-one deal — they can combine EMV and mobile.”

D'Alessio adds mobile solutions also can become a data funnel for retailers’ analytics. These devices not only receive payment, but also provide information on shopper’s habits and preferences. “Mobile and analytics converge to show the most optimal place to put inventory in the store, for example. Mobile can really help retailers get the most out of brick and mortar.”

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