In-store mobile technologies, especially mobile point of sale devices, have been increasing in popularity for the past several years, due in part to the fact that consumers’ own mobile device ownership numbers are growing. The rise of contactless payment applications through consumer smartphones is also a big factor in the growth of in-store mobile technology. Mobile point of sale (mPOS) devices come with some huge benefits for both the business and consumer: In-store customers will experience a streamlined, quick, and efficient checkout process and businesses can focus more on customer service, as well as building their network database through emailed receipts.
Predictions for mobile in-store devices
In-store mobile technology is here to stay. We predict that in 2016, mobile device adoption will continue to spread throughout retail markets across divergent industries. Devices such as mPOS systems and in-store tablets will continue to proliferate to businesses of all sizes. In fact, mobile technology has already become a core part of multiple businesses – and it’s not just mobile point of sale. More and more businesses are using text marketing, or consumer-directed apps, or even just realizing the power of mobile optimization for their websites.
With the further proliferation of contactless mobile payment options, as well as chip-enabled systems, consumers will be demanding more in-store mobile technology from their retail outlets. The biggest examples of contactless payment systems are, of course, Google Wallet and ApplePay, both of which are making it easier than ever for customers to complete a transaction without cash or credit cards. Not only that, merchants will likely began updating their systems even without additional consumer demand, as mobile payment options offer better security and flexibility.
PayPal, for example, has recently introduced the PayPal Here Chip Card reader. The device can accept the newer Europay (EMV), Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cards, but is also compatible with traditional cards that utilize a magnetic strip. Catering to all markets, the PayPal Here Chip Card reader can also accept ApplePay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, and is compatible with both major device operating systems, iOS and Android.
Another new solution for retailers is Mercury, which sets up business for EMV and mobile payment options. There’s even more: Poynt is a payment terminal that accepts EMV and mobile payment options, but also accepts traditional cards and even QR codes.
The adoption of in-store mobile devices will continue to grow as retailers expand into non-traditional payment solutions. For businesses that are expanding, the early adoption of these new in-store mobile options is critical: Most will find that it’s better to adopt early and grow your business with new techniques already in place than to try to implement these options later on. For example, LifeLine Repairs, a shop based in Nashville and a Vend customer, planned to open over 20 new stores and therefore, switched to in-store mobile when they only had two stores, to make the process as seamless as possible.
What can mobile in-store do for your brand?
A Juniper Research study anticipated that more than 20 percent all retail transaction value would be handled by mobile point of sale devices by 2021. The same study also found that approximately a third or more of all point of sale systems will be a tablet or smartphone within five years. The industry is growing, and now is the time for businesses to begin their transitions.
As more businesses adopt mobile in-store technologies, the brand’s benefits will also continue to expand. Right now, mobile in-store devices are providing faster access to consumers and information, as well providing trackable ROI. They’re also allowing a greater focus on customer needs.
The impact of beacon technology
One of the biggest changes to the consumer buying experience will come in the form of “beacons.” Beacons are a new technology that the consumer will likely never see themselves, but that retailers can use to send the consumer relevant information in-store.
A small, white, $5 device, beacons essentially awaken apps already on the consumer’s cell phone when they arrive within the location of the beacon. Beacons can access a grocery list app and remind the consumer of something on it, or they can send the consumer a special deal through a grocery store or manufacturer app already on their phone, among other benefits.
According to CNBC, businesses like Macy’s, Simon Property Group, and GameStop are already experimenting with the device.
Mikael Thygesen, chief marketing officer for Simon Property Group, describes the benefit to marketers of using the app: “Think about an app that you might have on your phone. You’ve downloaded it, you’ve taken the time to download it but you forget about it because it’s on page six of your phone, [the beacon] will allow brands, marketers to wake up their app and deliver a relevant personalized message to you, as the app user.” Simon currently has approximately 4,800 beacons installed across 192 malls and shopping centers nationwide. Simon hopes to send welcome messages to visitors to their commercial developments, and also hopes retailers in their malls will use beacons to deliver messages to shoppers.
The impact of beacons is expected to be widespread, and they are already becoming a critical tool for many retailers. Big names like Woolworths, Target, and Urban Outfitters are already using the devices and research suggests up to 40% of retailers in general are at least testing the new technology. Anecdotally, however, the numbers are probably much higher.
According to a report from Juniper Research cited by Mobile Commerce Daily, retailers are seeing good results from beacon-integrated coupon delivery to consumer smartphones in-store. Chow Tai, a China-based jewelry company, saw a 60% redemption rate in beacon-delivered coupons, amounting to $16 million in sales.
BI Intelligence estimates the devices will influence over $44 billion worth of in-store retail sales this year alone, a tenfold increase from 2015. BI Intelligence also forecasts that $8 billion worth of spending on consumer packaged goods will be influenced by beacon-triggered messages, which amounts to approximately 2% of sales in the CPG category. The addressable market for beacon-influenced CPG sales is potentially 13% of total sales within that category, or a total of $35 billion.
The growth of beacon usage will lay the groundwork for “smart stores” that personalize the consumer shopping experience to a degree previously unthinkable to marketers. Beacons can also be used for predictive analysis of consumer behavior based on the customer’s prior shopping habits, like days and times of the week for shopping.
2016 & Beyond
We anticipate mobile point of sale systems will continue to proliferate over the next several years until it’s the norm to see retailers using mobile devices in store. The adoption might take time, but with the advent of efficient and seamless hardware and software to simplify the point of sale process, as well as contribute to greater customer engagement and a better overall experience, mobile in-store devices will soon be a non-negotiable for most businesses.