Since the coronavirus pandemic burst on the scene in early 2020, the ways we buy and sell goods and services have changed. These transformations have also affected the evolution of the point of sale (POS) hardware that merchants use to conduct payment processing for retail stores. These POS trends are sure to continue to streamline both the customer and merchant experience for many years to come.
These days, even smaller retailers are realizing the benefits of storing their sales, employee, and customer data off-site. Doing so makes it easier to access the information from anywhere. It also minimizes the chances of a total business shut-down should disaster strike your physical store or your servers. When your most important digital assets are securely kept off-site by a PCI-compliant, third-party POS provider, you can streamline your business operations across your virtual and brick-and-mortar locations. All while upgrading your payments software as needed in just minutes.
The rise of digital payments.
It should come as no surprise that today’s customers not only bring their smartphones with them everywhere they go, they also use these hand-held devices to browse and make online purchases. In addition, there is a strong trend toward increased use of contactless payments that occur when a buyer taps or waves their device near a merchant’s POS reader. The process works as follows.
- The customer first inputs credit card and other payment information into their smartphone’s built-in digital wallet.
- The data is securely encrypted and stored.
- At the time of purchase, the customer opens their digital wallet.
- They place their phone within a few inches of the merchant’s contactless card reader and authenticate their identity with biometrics such as fingerprint or facial recognition.
- Near-field communications (NFC) technology allows the phone to communicate with the merchant’s card reader or POS system to securely exchange payment details.
- The reader conveys the details to the merchant’s payment processor and on to the various other elements in the process.
- Within seconds, the payment is approved or declined.
This entire process should take only seconds. It should also be protected from cybercriminals with certified, point-to-point encryption and tokenization. The result is payments that are fast, safe, and efficient and inspire trust, and may even motivate patrons to spend more.
More personalized shopping experiences.
Today’s buyers are looking for a complete shopping journey that goes beyond simply making a purchase. Thanks to their ability to track customer shopping behavior, modern POS equipment is up to the task. Business owners who pay attention to the analytics-based data their POS system, payments software, and online merchant portal provide can easily spice up their marketing campaigns, altering and customizing promotions to fit seamlessly with buyers’ individual needs.
Providing a true, multi-channel customer experience.
The POS solutions of the future are capable of helping you to create a seamless buying experience regardless of whether your guests come to your physical space, or buy online using their smartphone. Expanding your physical store to encompass a compatible online location can provide numerous benefits.
- More potential customers.
- Affordable setup and operating costs.
- Easy-to-use analytics tools to learn about shopping behaviors in real time.
- 24/7 availability of your products and services.
- Access to social media marketing for greater exposure and direct interaction with customers.
Providing maximum choice in payment options lets you attract a wide variety of customers while you expand the scope of your products to fit their diverse and evolving needs.
Since evolving into a sales and business operations powerhouse, the modern POS has become an indispensable partner to today’s most successful entrepreneurs. Although consumer demands and shopping behaviors will continue to morph, it appears likely that the POS system, in some form or other, will continue to be a vital ally to merchants of all types and sizes.