June 2015- VSR Magazine – There is very little that is not changing about POS: Form factor, platform, its role in the store, and perhaps most important, how it is sold and supported. Solution providers making a living selling and supporting POS must be nimble and forward-looking to continually adapt their businesses as the ground keeps shifting beneath them.
That can be tricky, because the pace of change is far from even. One geographic region may tend to hum along contentedly with traditional terminals, while others rush headlong into mobile and SaaS. Vertical market needs, say pay at the pump, may prevent some from embracing a trend such as associate-facing mobile that others widely adopt. Generational differences have some leaning to what’s proven and reliable while others dismiss that as outdated and limiting.
The collective wisdom of the crowd, however, reveals some distinct trends that are likely to hit every POS buyer when the time is right. In this, VSR’s annual survey of readers on important trends in point-of-sale, we found:
- Mobile, payment and to a lesser degree, loyalty, are unstoppable and interdependent forces shaping the way business is conducted.
- Buyers are highly concerned with the security of payment and other sensitive data.
- “Free” POS from payment companies and low-cost SaaS-based POS are changing the competitive landscape.
If you’re the type that thrives on chaos, you’re in the right business.
So it’s no surprise that solution providers call PCI compliance the number one factor driving customers to upgrade POS (46%) (Figure 4). It’s a big concern for solution providers too.
“The industry is in a frenzy about PCI as it’s constantly changing the software manufactures can barely keep up,” says one solution provider.
Interestingly, the second-most cited driver is increasing the speed of checkout, (45%) up from number four last year. This is one of the longest-running drivers for new POS systems, going back decades. As processor strength rose and credit approval and receipt printing speeds decreased to mere seconds, some believed this problem would go away.
“The desire for expedient checkout has little, if anything, to do with the rate items are scanned or how fast receipts are printed — but rather because, in today’s modern retail environment, the layers to the transaction have changed,” says George Muchae, director of business development at New West Technologies (www.newest.com). Instead, it’s authenticating IDs for loyalty programs, redeeming coupons and rewards or using ecommerce QR codes that have changed the scan and pay paradigm. “Merchants are compelled to have a speedy checkout at the risk of losing customers due to long lines; especially when they’re selling merchandise that is readily available elsewhere,” including ecommerce sites, he says.
Adding mobile POS is the third-most cited driver (43%). Mobile is not only extending POS into places that were difficult to reach before, but also replacing or supplementing fixed position POS in retail, hospitality, healthcare and other settings of all sizes and settings.