Spurred by the pandemic, retail stores are now serving customers in many different ways — and relying on mobile-first strategies and mobile POS (mPOS) devices to make it all happen. Today’s stores offer not just in-person shopping but fulfillment of e-commerce orders via delivery, in-store or at the curb, as well as offering education, experiences, and entertainment, all to keep customers engaged and loyal. Mobile devices help ensure consumers get the shopping experience they’re looking for.

Retailers of all sizes, from SMBs to enterprises, continue to invest heavily in mobile. According to RIS News’ 2022 Store Experience Study, 53 percent of retailers already have mobile devices in place for managers, associates and consumer checkout, and 46 percent plan to invest in these solutions.

In comparison, currently 45 percent have traditional POS hardware in place, with just 35 percent reporting purchase plans for these fixed-position devices. IHL Group says retailers are increasingly taking a mobile-first approach by linking web and cloud-based solutions to fixed hardware, such as cash drawers and printers.

Flipping the script on POS

The truth is, mPOS systems are a great fit for retailers of all sizes, because of their ability to flip the script: Instead of consumers approaching a counter and waiting in line for the retailer’s staff to serve them, mPOS can make it all about the customer. Mobile devices are key to helping associates tailor customers’ brand experiences to their individual expectations by accessing critical data and processing transactions wherever they’re needed, whether in-aisle, curbside, in pop-up spaces or at outdoor markets.

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The portability and flexibility of today’s diverse array of phone form factors, such as Galaxy XCover6 ProGalaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Z Flip4, as well as retail-ready tablets, such as Galaxy Tab Active4 Pro, give retailers plenty of options to fit their needs. Tablet functionality and performance can be even further extended with an all-in-one POS solution, like Targus’ POS solution for Tab Active4 Pro, transforming the device into a complete payment processing solution with a full DeX capability.

Some of the most effective uses for mPOS in retail include:

  • SMB POS: Traditional POS terminals are bulky, costly and stuck in one place. Mobile POS devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab family are the opposite: They’re streamlined, low cost and flexible, so they can be placed in a mount on the counter and then picked up and carried in hand for use as mobile devices on the sales floor. According to Global Market Insights, “mPOS have emerged as a preferred cost-effective alternative to traditional POS as they allow small business owners to conduct versatile transactions without being tethered to a single location or requiring any software support or an electronic register.”
  • POS for pop-ups: Pop-up stores surged during the height of the pandemic, and the concept appears to have staying power. Retailers of all sizes are increasingly taking their wares to customers, instead of just coaxing customers into stores. Setting up temporary POS in pop-ups, tent sales, sidewalk sales, farmer’s markets, enthusiast events, store-on-a-truck and other venues is a lot easier with the flexible, wireless mPOS form factor. This allows retailers to expand their brand well beyond the store. It’s also a great way to test new concepts or markets or show off new products or collaborations.
  • Queue-busting: Long lines drive away customers. Retailers who can complete transactions on the spot, or scan and suspend transactions for payment at the POS, save the sale and keep customers satisfied and coming back.
  • BOPIS/curbside pickup/deliver from store: The same mobile devices that process transactions can be pressed into duty to fulfill e-commerce orders. Store associates can receive the task, pick the items, and generate labels all from their mobile devices. RSR Research found 61 percent of retailers see high value in using mobile devices to alert employees of buy online/pickup in-store (BOPIS)-related tasks.
  • Store-within-a-store: Leasing space within another store as a guest vendor can be a great way to test new markets or run limited-time events. Using mobile transaction solutions means easy setup and take-down, without the need to run wiring or cabling.
  • Clienteling: High-touch business models such as luxury apparel or furniture retailing depend on delivering an elevated customer experience. Mobile POS enables retailers to bring the service to the customer. By sharing a tablet, a store associate and customer can view purchase history, explore options and accessories, scroll through a lookbook, sign documents and complete the transaction, all on the spot. That’s the sort of convenience that increases conversions. In Europe, for example, 71 percent of fashion retailers have invested in in-store technologies including mobile clienteling, and 59 percent anticipate empowering store associates to become concierge-like consultants.
  • Associate enablement: mPOS devices have grown into multifunction devices that empower associates and managers with the information and apps they need to do their jobs better. The most successful retailers (“Winners,” according to RSR) rely on mobile to empower associates. “Aside from systemized order fulfillment capabilities and visibility into key information assets … Winners look to offer employees peer-peer communications via mobile devices, mobile POS, and mobile-enabled scheduling and task management capabilities,” RSR analysts found.

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Maximizing mPOS benefits

Going mobile-first gives retailers the flexibility to deliver the value their customers are demanding. To maximize the benefits of their investments in mobile, retailers should articulate what they want their unique brand experience to be and determine how mobile devices can best support that mission. Other steps to success include:

  • Consider the range of current and future use cases to identify the right form factor
  • Work toward bringing real-time data to devices to enable the brand experience
  • Ensure features and functionality support their priorities, whether that’s increasing speed of service, providing high-touch engagement or extending the POS to diverse locations

Retail Consulting Partners’ 2022 POS & Customer Engagement Report says retailers are increasing investment in mobile POS thanks to the versatility, multipurpose capabilities and lower costs of mobile devices. According to the report, “The promise of fully mobile POS solutions has been around for at least the last decade, but it has only been in recent years where we are beginning to see the true vision for a mobile POS platform having its benefits fully realized.”

Discover more mobile retail solutions designed to help you reconnect associates and consumers, your way. And get your free guide to empowering retail associates with mobile devices and data.

Posts By

Lisa Terry

Lisa Terry is a seasoned B2B writer of articles, blogs, research reports, case studies, white papers and e-books, with a long list of media and corporate clients in hospitality as well as retail, IT and supply chain. She has written for Hospitality Technology, HTNG publications, Nation’s Restaurant News, RIS News, Advertising Age, Consumer Goods Technology, Inbound Logistics, Washington Technology and many others.

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