Developments made in POS systems are affecting both brick and mortar and online merchants – in positive ways
It’s no secret – payments are changing. From EMV and mobile payments to biometrics and more, the way we pay for goods and services is evolving. To keep pace with the expanding payments landscape, point of sale (POS) systems will need to help facilitate this evolution by providing consumers with the ability to pay using a variety of methods. More importantly, they’ll need to keep transactions safe.
Point of sales systems will also need to serve as more than just checkout tools for merchants. That being said, what’s next for POS systems and what are some of the ways they are changing the payments industry?
Advanced Customer Relationship Management
Today’s POS systems are increasingly being used as marketing tools that are able to compile specific data and provide valuable consumer insight designed to help merchants re-target their customers. They can also be utilized to offer customers special purchase opportunities while building and maintaining relationships with them.
Customer relationship marketing management in this manner is crucial to merchants if they want to keep their customers happy and coming back. Studies have shown that it’s approximately five times costlier to sell to a new customer than to capture the sale of an existing one. Using emerging CRM tools as well as those that are standard on newer POS systems can help merchants keep in touch with and communicate with their customers.
CRM goes beyond the typical “thanks for shopping with us” idea. For example, with an advanced CRM, a merchant’s POS could include a predefined email autoresponder. Similarly, when someone comes into a store and purchases a particular item, the system would know to automatically send them an email thanking them and offering them a discount the next time they shop at that store.
Customer relationship management is all about increasing visibility and boosting profits, and when done correctly, it can prove to be some of the most effective marketing there is.
Loyalty and Rewards Programs
Loyalty and rewards programs are quite effective. According to Tim Reynolds, National Merchants Association’s Director of Member Support, “Rewards programs encourage loyalty and spending. It has been shown the 80% of profit is driven by 20% of your customer base. Most retail shops profit because of loyal shoppers. Reward programs help businesses increase sales while increasing their reach.”
Until just recently, there really weren’t any digital platforms that enabled merchants to manage customer loyalty programs, offer discounts, send automated emails and text messages to frequent shoppers, or advertise specials. Digitally-integrated solutions, like the ones found in today’s POS systems, can do all of that while helping to build relationships with consumers – allowing business owners to keep their customers happy and coming back for more and encouraging loyalty.
The future is in the clouds – literally. Cloud-based solutions provide countless advantages over traditional POS systems, and merchants are catching on as increasing numbers of restaurants and retail businesses switch to cloud-based mobile point of sale solutions (mPos). These systems are internet-hosted solutions that have the capability to store all kinds of data on the web.
Cloud-based systems give merchants the flexibility to manage aspects of their business from remote locations – anywhere, really. This point of sale software is also great for getting instant software upgrades, data analytics, and data consolidation, and it integrates easily with third-party applications. Many believe that the future of POS software lives in cloud-based software technologies, and many people agree.
Biometrics have been in use for at least a few years now. From unlocking your phone to logging into your bank account, technology is making signing in simple and safe. In the retail world, a few merchants have joined the biometrics revolution to assist their employees with logging into POS software and also to help with customers using self-check outs. Using unique human characteristics like fingerprints, voice recognition, and even retinal scans, biometrics are becoming popular ways to verify identity and confirm transactions in a secure manner.
How does a biometric-based POS system work? In a retail setting, for instance, biometrics can be used to automatically clock in employees or to switch users on a specific terminal or cash register. This advanced technology reduces theft as other employees are not able to use a particular cash register until they’ve scanned their fingerprint and the software has recognized it. Any errors or potential issues can be traced to specific cashiers as well.
Employee Time Management and Payroll Reporting
Merchants are always interested in knowing and anticipating the personnel and coverage needs of their businesses. Is a store overstaffed? Understaffed?
Modern technology has allowed point of sale systems to see exactly when a store’s busy times are and can suggest when additional employees may be needed. Similarly, labor costs can be calculated using one backend system.
Newer software has also brought the functionality of time clocks to all-in-one POS systems. No more need for a punch clock in this day and age – employees can clock in and out with a simple tap on a screen. Tracking and reviewing hours is easier, too, and combined with a cloud-based app, business owners can approve or adjust time from virtually anywhere they have internet access.
Payroll reporting is becoming increasingly automated as well. Once employee time has been confirmed and approved at the end of a pay period, that information can be sent to the merchant’s bank so that checks can be cut or funds deposited directly into an employee’s account.
EMV Payment Security
Newer payment terminals come with plenty of built-in security features. Perhaps the biggest and most important of these features in recent years has been EMV card readers. Using this technology allows payments to be made safely and securely. EMV is the acronym for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa and is a worldwide standard for cards with computer chips.
Chip cards are the forefront of payment security because they create a unique transaction code for every purchase. Older magnetic strips keep the same data for every single purchase which make them easy to copy and more vulnerable to being hacked. Merchants can easily add EMV card readers to their POS systems to help reassure customers of their security now and in the future.
The POS systems that customers are becoming familiar with today utilize advanced technology making them capable of much more than simply running up a total or completing a transaction. These systems are more intelligent, more insightful, and more intuitive than ever before.
Beyond processing customer transactions, emerging roles for POS software include helping merchants accurately define their multi-channel product and service offerings while analyzing corresponding consumer behavior to ensure that customers are happy and loyal. National Merchants Association works with current technologies and the latest in POS advancements designed to help merchants maximize opportunity and keep consumers coming back for more. Contact us today for more information!