May 02, 2019 07:38 PM
by Meg C. Hall
A mobile point-of-sale system (POS) definitely makes it easier for your small business to collect revenue wherever you are. But can it also impact the experience customers have with you brand?
Kristin Schoonover, director of product management for NCR Small Business, said a tablet-based mobile POS does much more than let you accept payments on-the-go. It also “lets employees look up item photos and options on a company intranet or web store, check inventory at other stores and then complete checkout — all on the same device.”
Instead of just using your POS as a mobile checkout tool, consider how it can help your staff better engage with shoppers and create a positive customer experience for your small business.
For most businesses, the checkout counter is designed to make things easier and more profitable for the company. Putting customers in a queue helps streamline the transaction process and avoid confusion for cashiers. Plus, when customers spend a minute or two in line, they’re more likely to add a couple impulse buys to their shopping cart. But from a customer’s perspective, it’s just your everyday checkout experience.
With a mobile POS, your staff can get out from behind the counter that separates them from the customer and provide a more personal checkout experience anywhere in the store. Or when the line to the register starts to back up, your employees can easily jump in and help facilitate purchases to those waiting patiently, so you don’t lose those precious sales.
“Mobility allows employees to check customers out faster with line-busting or moving the checkout location to other locations, such as sidewalk sales, tent sales, etc.,” said Schoonover.
When you can complete sales transactions anywhere in the store, it creates more opportunities to engage with the customer as they shop. Your staff is able to interact with shoppers earlier in the customer journey and join the decision-making process, rather than waiting for a customer to choose a certain product (or not) on their own.
As Schoonover noted, a mobile POS also makes it easier to win over customers who never set foot in your store. Instead of hoping (and praying) your storefront decor or sidewalk sign will entice those walking by to come through your doors, take the store to them by stationing an employee with a tablet where they can easily engage with window shoppers as they pass.
In addition, most mobile POS systems are designed to accept payments without an internet connection — festivals or sporting events, for example — so you “can continue working when offline in places where network connectivity may not be good and then upload [your] data once reconnected,” she said.
So instead of having to lug around a cash register, receipt printer and internet hotspot in order to make money at special events or pop-up shops, with a mobile POS you can just grab a tablet and go.
Some mobile POS systems are able to manage inventory, which can help employees and, in turn, your customers. (Photo: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock)
Some mobile checkout systems also include inventory management functionality. Keeping up with inventory clearly helps streamline a business’s internal processes, but it can also provide a better experience for the shopper.
For example, when a customer has a question about a product’s availability, your sales associate can quickly whip out their tablet and check what’s in stock right there in the aisle. Because they don’t have to run to the back and check inventory manually, your staff can answer questions for guests quickly without ever needing to leave their side.
When guests come into your store, it’s almost a given that they will have already done some initial research pre-shopping online. And when they walk through your doors, they expect your staff to be even more knowledgeable about the products and services you offer.
Knowledge is power, and a mobile POS puts that power back into the hands of your sales team by making them the experts. With detailed product information, photos and reviews at their fingertips, your staff can interact with customers on a whole new level without having to spend hours researching and memorizing details on every product you sell.
If your store has a loyalty program, your mobile POS can also share insights into the customer’s purchase history and other interests.
“Capturing [information on] the customer helps track purchase history and customer attributes, helping direct sales efforts towards products that specific customers may be interested in,” Schoonover explained.
Because the sales associate can see the guest’s past purchases, they can offer product suggestions that are more relevant and personal. In doing so, your sales staff becomes a pivotal part of the purchase experience for your customers.
So, while you may have purchased your mobile POS to make things easier from a business perspective, don’t forget that effectively using the system will also improve the shopper’s experience — so they’ll want to come back and shop with you again.