Huw Thomas, Managing Director at PMC, talks about Mobile PoS.
Mobile PoS has been featuring as one of the ‘next big things’ for the past few years but progress has been frustratingly slow.
I said it a couple of years ago, and the situation is still the same today. The market in mobile PoS is taking longer to mature than expected. The demand for this technology has emotional backing from consumers and retailers alike but is struggling to get a meaningful foothold in UK retail. So why is that?
Joining up the channels to enable a consistent and effective user journey is not a simple job. Most retailers still have a morass of disparate systems that do not make 'omni' anything an easy task.
The trend towards order in store and click & collect is driving more effective cross-channel integration. The deployment of mobile PoS is an obvious technology to support both initiatives.
Then there is the whole question of what system to use to drive in-store mobile PoS; the existing PoS, the website or both?
When it comes to solutions there seem to be three main options; 1 - implement an omnichannel ready solution, 2 - implement the mobile solution from your existing PoS or Web solution provider or 3 - implement a point solution that will work with your existing PoS or Web solution, or maybe both.
Option 1 will give you a great platform for the future but is likely to take years to deploy across your estate and will be immensely resource and cash hungry. However, the long-term platform for omnichannel anything is likely to be greatly enhanced. Option 2 is likely to be a much timelier and cost effective deployment but may tie you to specific mobile platform, payment and peripheral providers. Option 3 could give you the greatest return in the short term and give you the flexibility to move with the market while you consider what you will do about Option 1. This for most retailers is a nettle that will need to be grasped at some point in the future!
Options 1 requires you to set an expectation of a seriously large capital expenditure and get on with a detailed system selection exercise. Option 2 is simple in terms of determining which of your platforms you want to use to drive the sale and working with your existing solution provider to develop and deploy their mobile solution. For option 3 you can really consider what you want from a mobile solution and what specific user journeys you want to make mobile.
Key considerations are around how you avoid developing a totally new solution and leverage the data from your existing systems rather than introducing even more complexity into your IT systems.
How do you deploy a solution that does not need to be re-implemented every time you make a change to the device size or type, the payment provider or the peripherals you are using to engage with your customer? How will you keep your devices secure whilst also having the ability to manage them centrally? Will your device still work if the vendor makes changes to the OS?
These are all critical considerations that need to be worked through to ensure that your solution doesn’t just work initially but is not negatively impacted by the continuous changes in mobile technology.
If you would like to discuss the implications of developing/deploying a point solution for your in-store mobile PoS requirements, then please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org