If you own a business, you understand more than most people the importance of maintaining smooth and efficient operations. With so many moving parts, each of which performs its own unique and indispensable function, you only are at your peak when everything coordinates together seamlessly. Along with a solid employee team, superb products, intelligent planning, and agility to adapt to the unpredictable, you need one more essential ally as you take your company forward into the future: a mobile point of sale (mPOS) solution.
What is an mPOS solution?
It’s point of sale software and mobile hardware that allows you to accept face-to-face credit card payments from your customers, wherever they may be. An mPOS system can also assist in streamlining several necessary business processes via the storage and usage of cloud-based data. Much more sophisticated than its cash register forebears, the standard POS contains the following components:
- Software that integrates with a frontend interface (tablet or terminal) to input and process customer payments. The backend, also known as the back office, can be accessed through an app or on a browser from the same device or a different one. (This is where other operational features are accessed.)
- Data can be stored in two different ways: on-site or in the cloud. In the former case, you are responsible for all license purchases, updates, and upgrades. Since everything is locally based, access to the internet is not required. In the latter instance, data is stored off-site on your provider’s systems. As part of the service, your provider maintains all software and upgrades applications and security features automatically.
- Hardware. The most common equipment includes an interface for processing transactions, cash drawer, receipt printer, barcode scanner, mobile credit card processing equipment for contactless payments and network systems such as routers or hubs to connect all local computers to each other and to access the internet.
These various elements are designed not only to work well with each other but also to integrate seamlessly with other systems that you may already have in place, including accounting and CRM software.
Mobile point of sale systems explained.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork and described how the basic equipment works for processing customer payments, it’s time to gain some insights into mobile credit card processing. Mobile payments, including mobile wallets and mobile money transfers, are not conducted using cash, checks, or physical credit cards. Instead, they occur digitally via hand-held phones, wearable devices like watches, or with special chip-enabled credit cards.
Mobile payments are rapidly gaining popularity because of their compelling combination of convenience and security. Instead of lugging around a physical wallet, buyers can simply pull out a device they carry with them all the time anyway. Furthermore, customer information is no longer stored on the merchant’s POS system as it was in the past. Instead, the buyer’s mobile device creates a unique single-use token for each transaction that keeps data much safer from capture by cybercriminals.
From the merchant’s point of view, mobile POS systems offer the advantages of enhanced data security and convenient portability. Without sacrificing any functionality, you can broaden your reach, accepting payments from anywhere in your store, or wherever else your customers are. Additionally, you can easily access your back-office business functions from any location at any time, keeping your finger constantly on the pulse of your entire operations.
What happens during a mobile payment?
First, the customer pre-loads payment information such as credit card numbers into their smartphone’s digital wallet. When initiating a purchase, the buyer then opens the wallet and places the phone no more than two to three inches away from your mobile POS reader. Thanks to the near-field communications (NFC) technology built into both the device and reader, a dialogue takes place at lightning speed. Within seconds, the encrypted information is exchanged, and the payment is either declined or approved, all with no physical contact between shopper and seller.
Transform your entire business operations.
We have now established that mobile payments are speedy, convenient, and secure. In and of themselves, these are great reasons to upgrade to systems that allow these types of transactions. However, these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because your mobile POS solution can use its cloud-based data features to make your operations more efficient and wider in scope.
- Customer relationships management. Your mobile POS might look small, but it has robust back-office database abilities that allow you to record contact details and shopping behavior information for your valued buyers. Once you know, for instance, when someone’s birthday is, or their preferred brand or style of products, it’s a breeze to customize emails just for them featuring what they like to buy. Harnessing this power is one of the most effective ways to establish and cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers that turn one-time customers into loyal brand ambassadors.
- Inventory management. Fretting about products and stock quantities can eat up your valuable time. Meanwhile, ordering mistakes can lead to unhappy customers and poor reviews. Thanks to a mobile POS system and its included barcode scanner, you’ll always know exactly what you have in stock. Automated functions on many systems even allow you to receive low-stock alerts when quantities run low so that you never run out and disappoint your customers. By the same token, you’ll be able to track what is not selling, removing slow movers from your shelves or discounting them to make room for more popular offerings.
- Employee management. Your mobile POS will come equipped with software that can make keeping track of workers’ hours and vacation schedules easy. The system can even let you know when your workers clock in and out and email weekly schedules to staff, thus minimizing confusion about shift times and increasing accountability.
- Report generation. Perhaps the most powerful feature of your mobile POS system is its ability to crunch its cloud-based data to match your needs. With just a few clicks, you can examine sales over a specific period, look at what items sold and what did not, investigate which of your staff were the most and least productive, and even forecast future sales trends. Armed with this information, you will be in a much better position to move your business forward to meet actual customer needs.
Technology will never replace the personal touch that only you and your staff can provide to your in-person and online customers. However, the right mobile POS system can keep the behind-the-scenes machinery well-oiled and working flawlessly. Isn’t it time you joined the mobile POS solution revolution?