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An unprecedented holiday shopping season kicks into high gear this Black Friday, Nov. 27. Small stores are preparing to welcome more shoppers than usual, and preparing to serve them in new ways to keep both shoppers and retail workers safe from COVID.
Like larger retailers, small businesses also want end-to-end customer engagement so they can ensure consumers are satisfied with their purchases. Retailers can successfully deliver this elevated customer service with the help of an mPOS solution.
The mobile front end
An mPOS solution consists of a tablet or smartphone that often resides at a “home base” at the checkout counter. Accompanied by an mPOS sled or accessory, the device allows associates to leave the checkout counter and assist shoppers throughout the entire shopping experience — from the minute they enter the store until they make a purchase — without ever having to leave their side.
An mPOS gives retailers flexibility. The device can be used as a stationary POS at the checkout, as a mobile solution out on the sales floor, or even deployed as a self-service POS where consumers can navigate their shopping and checkout experience unassisted.
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Beyond simply processing transactions, integrated mobile apps can support a range of other in-store tasks. Inventory management integrations allow associates to view inventory levels and e-commerce channels — creating an “endless aisle” effect, which ensures that out-of-stock items can be delivered to a shopper at a later time.
mPOS is quickly gaining popularity in the retail world: Juniper Research estimated that the total value of mPOS-enabled transactions will exceed $1.9 trillion in 2024 — a significant uptick from $850 billion in 2019. According to Juniper, the proliferation of smartphones and increasing preference of cashless payments are driving factors in this growth.
The game plan
To succeed with mPOS, independent retailers are encouraged to first review their Wi-Fi networks — not only in terms of speed and reliability, but also in terms of security. When choosing an mPOS, important criteria include EMV chip card support, durability and security.
mPOS app developers must also fortify their coding frameworks, codes, encryption keys, processes and data if they want to keep customer information safe from bad actors. Pretested and predesigned code modules can be used to ward off hacking attempts, thereby preventing developers from having to code their own security countermeasures — which could introduce risks if not done properly.
With an eye on short-term startup costs, retailers should stay focused on affordable, accessible and versatile terminals and peripherals. mPOS sleds can combine with tablets and smartphones to deliver value to small businesses through integrated solutions that satisfy their unique mobile needs. Some new devices, including Samsung’s new Galaxy XCover Pro and Tab Active Pro, also support contactless payments without the need for additional hardware, further reducing the cost of the solution.
It’s also important for retailers to consider their available technology support. The last thing you need — especially during the critical holiday shopping season — is a POS system crash. If your brand can’t make a sale, not only do you lose revenue, but chances are you’ll lose customer loyalty and future business as well. This holiday season, support, hardware replacement and on-site training are key to small and medium-sized businesses’ success.
Retailers have a lot to consider in preparation for Black Friday. In addition to COVID safety measures, retailers should be rethinking their mPOS strategies and transitioning to affordable options that will protect customer information, engage customers in their shopping journey and streamline the entire shopping process — all of which build long-term relationships, which translates into real retail value.