There is an entirely new approach to shopping. Instead of standing in line to make a purchase, customers can go directly to a salesperson, anywhere in the store, who can then process your sale with a mobile device. These POS (point-of-sale) devices, combined with push-for-service paging systems, can greatly enhance the consumer experience and increase revenue.
Most mobile POS devices use a modified iPod Touch, or other tablet, along with a merchandise scanner and credit card slider. The device allows an employee to check out customers from anywhere in the store. The app on the device also provides the sales staff access to the store’s inventory. This is useful when helping customers check if an alternative size or color is available elsewhere.
Is this the end of the checkout line?
While the technology is still fairly new and adoption of these devices has been slow, it presents an interesting possibility for retailers. These mobile POS devices move the point-of-sale from the checkout line to wherever the consumer is ready to make a purchase.
No customer likes to stand in a long line waiting to make a purchase. These lines can get particularly irritating during busy seasons such as the Back-to-School rush. For retailers, these lines create another problem beyond the usual frustrations. A long wait provides ample time for a consumer to change his or her mind and put the item back on the shelf.
Companies like Apple and Nordstrom Rack have found success using mobile POS devices. According to Nordstrom Rack’s sales report since implementing the new approach, “Preliminary quarter-to-date total retail sales of $1.73 billion increased 15.3 percent compared with total retail sales of $1.50 billion for the same period in fiscal 2011.” Both the average selling price and the number of items sold increased during that year.
Hunting down the walking cash register
The challenge is finding a salesperson when you are ready to make a purchase decision. Some stores are always crowded with people checking out the new products or browsing around aimlessly. Other stores are so large; it can be difficult to track down a salesperson. In either situation, it renders the mobile POS device useless.
An obvious solution is to equip stores that use mobile POS devices with push-button pagers, bringing the cash register to the customer. These customizable devices have the ability to send messages to any employee wearing an alphanumeric pager.
Stores can even be equipped with a push button paging system so that the customer can make specific requests, distinguishing between a simple price check question or help finding a particular items. This system saves time for both the customer and the employee.
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