Top 5 Mobile POS Features for an Omni-Channel Retail Platform

Mobile point-of-sale systems hold a great deal of potential for retailers. Not only do they enable increased speed of service and improve the customer experience, they also free up floor space, facilitate the latest data security measures and deliver on the promise of an omni-channel experience.

Despite these benefits, the rollout of mobile POS systems in the market has been slower than initial expectations. According to a July 2014 report from pymnts.com, 78 percent of retailers today believe they lack the capabilities to support mobile payments. However, nearly the same amount of respondents say they expect to have a mobile POS solution deployed by next year.

Part of the delay in mobile POS deployments may be due to confusion about the numerous offerings on the market. With scores of vendors offering a wide variety of products – with varying form factors and degrees of functionality – it can be difficult for retailers to evaluate these options and choose the right product. Here are the top five considerations to keep in mind as you invest in a mobile POS solution that is right for your business:

 

  1. Integrated EMV Reader: An EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) reader should be your top consideration as you select a mobile POS solution. Due to an October 2015 mandate, card issuers are converting to an EMV system, also known as chip-and-pin technology, providing increased security for retailers and consumers. Given recent security breaches, the change is needed to protect vital payment information, with even President Obama recently signing an executive order requiring increased security measures for federal credit cards. Retailers looking for confidence their financial data is secure should find a mobile POS tablet that features an integrated EMV reader with PIN pad to prevent data theft from the customer as well as their business.
  1. Powerful Processor and full Windows 8.1: Smart retailers will look for a mobile POS solution that can serve as a “utility player” in their establishment. Look for a mobile POS system that has a powerful processor and an enterprise-grade operating system like Windows 8.1. This will allow the solution to provide a variety of services beyond payment processing, including product comparisons, inventory management and customer purchase history, among other tasks. This enables associates to create cross-sell opportunities and deliver that unique in-store, omni-channel experience customers now expect.
  1. Compatible with Multiple Payment Options: While EMV is the latest and most secure payment option coming to the U.S. retail market, not all customers will be EMV-compatible. NFC (near-field communication) and magnetic stripe technologies are still very much part of the payment landscape, and must be supported by a mobile POS solution. Retailers will need to utilize a device that can handle all forms of digital payment, giving retailers and their customers peace of mind their data is safe.
  1. Durability: With the everyday wear-and-tear mobile POS devices can take in the retail space, not to mention the constant danger of a drop to a tile floor or a spilled beverage, having a device with enterprise-grade durability is essential for a retailer’s ROI. In addition to having a durable device, retailers looking to increase sales should look for a versatile device with a wide range of configuration options to help with their specific needs on the sales floor.
  1. Battery Life: Mobile POS devices provide a variety of functions throughout the day and must last a full shift without stopping to charge the device. Another important consideration is a user-replaceable battery, which many consumer devices lack but can be found on enterprise-grade technology. User-replaceable batteries allow staff to quickly switch out a used battery for a fresh one without putting the entire device out of commission to charge. One option to consider might be a model with a bridge battery – this enables the user to switch out batteries without even powering down the device.

 

As the demand for an omni-channel customer experience grows, retailers will need to seek out comprehensive POS systems engineered to increase management capabilities, operational efficiencies and productivity while boosting sales. In addition, the EMV mandate requires that they upgrade to the new digital payment security system with 70 percent of U.S. credit cards and 41 percent of U.S. debit cards set to have security chips by the end of 2015, according to the Aite Group. While there are many mobile POS choices on the market today, look for omni-channel retail solutions that include these five key features.

To learn more about Panasonic’s retail solutions, including the industry’s first all-in-one mobile POS tablet for retail environments, the Toughpad FZ-R1.

Come check out the five features you should be looking for in a mobile POS device following NRF!