Businesses love mPOS, but not necessarily mobility

When businesses consider investing in a mobile point-of-sale system, the "mobile" part of the phrase is generally seen as one of the key selling points. Traditional POS solutions sport robust functionliaty but are often fixed and therefore not very flexible, so a mobile solution that can be picked up and used throughout the store seems like the obvious path forward.

However, a recent study conducted by IHL Services and reported by PaymentsSource actually found that many enterprises are not capitalizing on this aspect of mobile POS systems. The tablet is most commonly found attached and locked into a stand on the counter, just as any traditional POS would be used. For many businesses, the lower costs and "as-a-service" sales models associated with tablet POS solutions and equipment has been by far the largest draw, rather than mobility.

"Where mPOS - and tablets in particular - have been the most popular is in new mom and pop retailers. You can get a tablet POS with software for less than $100 a month. Contrast that to $3,000 to $7,000 up front for a traditional POS," Greg Buzek, CEO of IHL Services, told PaymentsSource. "Many of these retailers simply purchase these tablet POS, fix them to a stand (Square, Clover, ShopKeep) and then run them like a traditional POS."

"It's pretty compelling to only have to pay $100 or less up front if you are retailer just starting out. And capital is at such a premium for new retailers," Buzek added.

Taking full advantage of mobile POS
This cost-conscious approach to POS selection makes sense given the merchant targets of mobile POS solutions. A number of organizations jumping at mobile POS tend to be smaller firms or startups, and often would rather use the capital that would otherwise be invested into a traditional POS in other mission critical functions and tasks. To them, the added mobility is just an added bonus, and not necessarily a leading reason to make the investment.

While merchatns are of course free to use their POS in any way they choose, they should keep in mind the extra flexibility and mobility of tablet-based POS solutions can provide significant value. Some businesses may not be capitalizing on this extra functionality right now, but the added benefits could play a pivotal role in the future. Here are a few ways businesses can capitalize on the portable aspect of mobile POS solutions:

  • Line busting: If there are long lines in the store, employees could start checking customers out through a mobile POS. Shorter queues lead to faster throughput which in turn leads to happier, more satisfied customers.
  • Inventory management: Mobile devices can be used for a variety of purposes, including back-end operations such as tracking inventory and product management. This enables retailers to use mobile devices not only at the point of sale, but also as sales aids and management tools. The mobility of these tools can promote greater productivity, as they can be used on the spot instead of having to return to a stationary terminal.
  • Improved usability: People are already familiar with tablet hardware, which may expedite the training process. This is ideal for POS providers who drop ship equipment to non-local merchants.

Interest in mobile POS only seems to be increasing. In fact, the IHL report noted an anticipated compounded annual growth rate of 21 percent for tablet-based solutions through the end of 2019. Mobile POS provides a ton of value, regardless of whether enterprises are capitalizing on every facet of it or whether they simply want a lower-cost POS.