Many retailers are piloting new technologies in their stores, but one type in particular has the potential to forever change how a transaction occurs between a business and its customer: mobile point of sale.
The process of checking out in a store hasn’t changed much since the 1950s: Shoppers choose the merchandise they want to purchase and then approach fixed counters and store associates to pay for the items.
Starting in the 1970s, retail began a transformation with point of sale (POS) terminals replacing cash registers and credit cards becoming the norm. However, the process of selecting items and going to a fixed place in the store to pay for them largely remained the same. That is, until retailers began introducing mobile POS.
These solutions give the retailer the ability to process payments anywhere with any card type, including debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards.
Mobile POS solutions consist of a handheld mobile computer or device with a payment card reader and compact, portable printer. Once the store associate swipes the card, the data is encrypted and sent over a wireless network. After the charge is authorized, the shopper signs the screen on the device and the associate prints a receipt on the spot.
JC Penney, Sephora and other major retailers announced initiatives in 2012 to use tablets, smartphones and other devices to employ mobile checkout, with some such as AT&T stating they plan to eliminate all counters and stationary POS systems in the next couple of years.
The growth potential is tremendous.
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