Exciting times for Point of Sale!
On behalf of : Somasundaram Kuttalingam
POS (Point of Sale) is that location in a store where all the efforts of a retailer in trying to sell a product finally bears fruit - yes, that's the place where the sale happens and the payment gets recorded. POS systems are heavily used in Hospitality industry as well. History shows that the retailers slowly moved away from book and ledgers to electronic systems to record their sale and collect payments. These electronic systems, over a period of time, gathered more features and provisions to accommodate government rules on selling some of the products. POS software took giant leaps of improvements whenever there has been a change on the computing industry. POS systems, which initially started as smaller version of Mainframe systems, moved over to PC based solutions when the computing industry moved from Mainframe to PC. Now, with another giant leap happening on the computing industry - Tables, Smartphones and Cloud computing, the POS industry is also at the cusp of a major turn in history.
The wide use of Smartphones and Tablets has spurred up an enthusiasm on how these devices can be effectively used for POS. A lot of retailers (big and small) have taken notice of this development and have started implementing Smartphone or Tablet based POS solutions in their stores. Let's take a look at the recent developments and changes that have happened in the POS space.
Payments: There is huge traction on how to enable the small businesses accept credit cards for payments. Traditional small businesses that have been constrained to taking just Cash and Check as payments can now accept cards as payment. Thanks to companies like Square, PayPal and Intuit that have hit the markets with their POS and payment solutions for small businesses.
Get, Set, Go: Where POS used to be a complex application requiring special hardware; companies like Square, Intuit and Paypal have made it a simple, easy solution that anyone with a Smartphone or Tablet can use. Within few minutes, a small business can set up their items and the POS for their business is ready! These solutions also offer rich reporting features.
Scan it yourself: Traditionally, POS used to be the place where an item gets scanned, transaction gets built and payment gets recorded. But now, with the Smartphone based POS solutions, the customers can themselves scan a transaction and build the transaction even before they reach the POS terminals! This significantly enhances user experience and shortens the wait time at the queue.
POS comes to you: You don't go to POS, the POS comes to you - In lot of major retailers, you can now see associates walking around their store with Smartphones and can check you out right at the place where you are! You don't need to go to those specific ear marked places of the store to record your sale. The handy, small POS (as a Smartphone app and card reader) comes to you for the checkout
I'm excited to see how the POS has transformed in the last few years and even more excited to see what's up next.