Benefits of Mobile POS Hardware
The arrival of POS hardware changed the shopping experience forever. Instead of lengthy transactions, computers allowed cashiers to ring up customers quickly and efficiently. However, POS systems still have their drawbacks. Even though they’ve been around for about half a century, they still ring up price tags of around $4,000 when including hardware and software costs.
Needless to say, that’s a hefty amount for small businesses, although major chains have no problem springing for new models when they are released. Another major drawback is that POS systems are tied to the place of installation, forever. This is no problem if, once again, the company is a giant supermarket chain, as customers already flock to the aisles on a regular basis.
The Little Guy
The problem is, for the artisan, the small businessman, or the farmer, these issues of cost and lack of mobility present major obstacles. Often, family-owned businesses and singular vendors find it difficult to reach customers at an agreeable halfway point, as less and less people keep a store of cash and checks on them. In situations when easy payment is not an option, countless sales fall to the wayside.
While business cards and online storefronts offer interested clients a way to get in touch, even if they can’t make the purchase immediately, many simply forget or lose the card. In other words, life gets in the way.
Luckily, as the digital age continues, POS technology is making dramatic leaps, most recently with the invention of mobile POS technologies. Many hardware models now offer full compatibility with smartphones and tablets, giving small and mobile operations an easy way to utilize technologies already in their possession.
Companies like Shopify are now offering credit card readers that plug into headphone jacks, with varying levels of security backup to ensure the safety of customer information. As CBS reported, Home Depot was recently hacked, with over 50 million accounts compromised. This is just an indication of the necessity of proper security measures.
Tech Target explains that mobile POS information is encrypted and stored in the cloud, and not on the device, to prevent valuable information from being lost or stolen.
Mobile POS card readers are allowing businesses of all sizes to accommodate customers and speed processing times. Software Advice reports that within 3 years, over 3.5 million tablets will have been shipped for use in North American retail and hospitality operations. One new and innovative location for the technology’s application is in restaurants.
Instead of waiting for cards to be processed and the bill to be signed, customers will be able to view the bill and pay simultaneously with tablet-based POS card readers. Servers equipped with readers will make the payment process significantly more efficient. And while this may not sound like a big deal, consider the amount of restaurants with long wait times.
Speeding up the process by 3 minutes a table in a large restaurant will produce hours of savings by the end of the day, and even larger savings weekly. This means that diners will be happier and more likely to tip, and, perhaps more importantly from a business standpoint, it will allow restaurants to accommodate more diners every night. Keep in mind that this will sacrifice nothing in the area of ambience, making it a no-brainer.
Perhaps the most obvious application of mobile POS terminals is in the realm of mobile vendors. Consider a food truck, for example. Most food trucks, as all food-based services, run on slim profit margins, and static POS terminals are often of the question due to cost and size. If customers don’t have cash on them, they can’t buy, and the truck owners lose out on potential profits.
That’s where mobile POS hardware comes in. Instead of requiring a major investment, the credit card readers are relatively cheap, often coming in at around $100, many with price tags far below that number. And the sunk cost soon pays for itself as more and more customers are able to purchase food every day.
Farmer’s markets are another place where mobile POS technology is taking hold. Unless the market is extremely well established, with permanent booths filled up by various farms, the chances of finding a vendor who can take credit cards is slim. Or it used to be. Mobile POS systems are allowing these sorts of grassroots organizations to widen their sales base without costly investment, allowing them to focus their energy on work, not loan paperwork.
Finally, mobile POS credit readers are becoming indispensable to the typical starving artist. Many artists and artisans do a good deal of traveling to display their work and their wares, and customers rarely have enough cash handy to pay a fair price for original work.
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the difference between a successfully completed large transaction and a business card swap is huge. With mobile card readers, a whole new generation of creative people can get closer to economic stability.