“At 93% of total U.S. retail dollar volume, the point of sale (POS) retail market towers above the online market and will continue to do so for years to come,” explains Javelin Strategy & Research in a recent report.
The firm devotes much of its study time to finance as well as merchant strategies, and they predict that POS hardware kits will deliver 4.2 trillion dollars to retailers annually in the coming years. The sets have allowed small-businesses to compete with large corporations by providing a full suite of tools, including the ability to accept credit card payments and run on easily-downloaded software that was once reserved for the elite.
How They Work
POS Hardware kits are an entire retail checkout set designed to deliver a traditional retail experience for consumers, at a fraction of the cost of traditional equipment for merchants. Many of the new designs are compatible with a tablet and have apps available for business management. Merchants can expect detailed reports that will help them see exactly where their business is at and gain insights as to where improvements can be made. Director of Retail Research at the Aberdeen Group, Sahir Anand, certainly sees the benefit in system reporting. “Without POS data, I don't think you can do intelligent retailing,” he said in an interview. The systems can be tailored to company needs as well. A full set will generally come with a stand for the tablet, a cash register, a credit card reader and a receipt printer. The versatility of the setup means that merchants can have one unit, which they can move from location to location, or they can set it up and leave it at a checkout counter in a brick-and-mortar store. Additional pieces, such as a barcode scanner, can be added to the packages with relative ease.
POS Hardware Kit Trends
According to PadGadget, the iPad seems to be the hottest choice to complete the set. “This is just the beginning of where retail technology is headed. New businesses are choosing iPad POS solutions over expensive and stationary cash registers,” notes one article. An Aruba Networks survey adds that 56 percent of people asked, which included more than 130 retail IT leaders, intend to use the iPad when they set up their systems in the next 24 months, and an additional 38 percent will opt for the iPhone. Some large corporations, like Apple, are finding ingenious ways to use the technology, too. Because systems are designed to work wirelessly, they send employees out to the sales floor with a tablet and attached card reader, and then they ring customers up throughout the store. Quick action like this can help make a sale or allow cashiers to move checkout lines faster. Either way, patrons have become rather smitten with the concept, because it saves them time.
What Makes POS Hardware Kits Ideal
Small retailers appreciate the fact that the systems have everything they need to accept payments. When purchasing a traditional cash register set, it can be difficult to find out which pieces are compatible with each other. On top of that, they then have to search for compatible software to complete transactions and find additional software to help them manage the store. The new POS hardware kits that work with iPads truly streamline the process, because apps can be easily downloaded that are sure to work with the set. There are also a growing number of retailers that are using the sets to upgrade technology and accept credit cards for the first time ever. These merchants are receiving an average of $7000 more annual revenue. They’ve also been proven to boost efficiency and improve the customer shopping experience.
For many, the decision to invest in a POS hardware kit is an easy one. At a fraction of the cost of a traditional cash register system, they’re a very economical decision for small retailers. Because they deliver so much in regard to reporting, inventory control, and efficiency, many of those who do upgrade see an almost immediate return on their investment. Many merchants who have started out using e-commerce sites like Shopify are able to branch out into real-world retail using the sets too. In these situations, they’re also able to manage all of their payments within one system and keep track of inventory. They now have an edge in an incredibly competitive market and they’re able to reach a wider consumer base, delivering a true professional experience.
Steve Olenski, a contributor at Forbes Magazine summed up how many retailers and consumers feel when he recalled his first experience with the devices: “…waiting for me was a clerk standing behind an iPad. Caught me completely off guard, but I quickly realized this was indeed the future.”
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