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Point of Sale (POS) the key trends at POS shaping

Bikash Kumar, MD, Integrated Retail Management Consulting | Dec. 19, 2014
Here are five key changes that we are likely to see in 2015 with regards to point of sale systems.

3.      POS systems are becoming inter-connected:

Point of Sale systems are getting connected to various systems within a retail organization.At Uniqlo outlets, an associate at a POS can now look up stocks and inventory positions at all other outlets using an iPod device.

Metro Department Stores MPOS allow for consumers to buy or reserve and complete the full transaction, including credit card payments, without the need for the consumers to queue up for payments.At Muji Stores a consumer can book for deliveries and time slots at the POS rather than having to go to another system.At Common Thread Outlets a POS is integrated with the store camera system allowing the retailer to generate useful reports on walk-ins and conversions in real time.

Increasingly the new POS design is seen to connect to external services like Groupon for coupon validation, Facebook for consumers to like the store page from within the POS in the same interaction etc.

4.      POS system activities are traceable in real time:

As the POS systems get connected, they now provide data in near real time, trickling on to mobile phones of the management. This allows retailers like Metro Department Stores, to share information with their suppliers and affect stock replenishment before a stock out situation over the crucial weekend. In the past visibility to POS activities was available at the head office only at the end of the day, which meant delay in making crucial decisions.

Additionally, the POS systems now gather information from different sources and then push a consolidated data feed for a more holistic analysis of retail operations. For example, a retailer may have devices like iBeacons deployed, to interact with consumers. Once the consumer's presence near the store is established, the POS system acts to consolidate information on sales with consumer engagement in the stores, to generate richer analytics.

Retailers are also using real time connectivity at the POS to trace compliance with the standard operating procedures laid out for the store staff.

5.      POS is driving up productivity:

More than anything else, the POS is now a key productivity driver for staff and for operations. With acute shortage of store staff, the POS is being enhanced to improve operational and consumer interaction efficiencies.

The real-time inventory check on the shop floor at Uniqlo, the ability to register for home deliveries in Muji outlets, at the POS without the need to go to another system etc. allow for the retailer to run the operations with leaner staffing.

The POS allows for staff to multi-task and become more productive. Instead of a POS being used for only scanning and billing, the POS, especially mobile POS allows staff to reduce billing queues, check inventory, communicate with other stores, and inform consumers on products. In the process the staff achieve higher productivity.


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