Workers in a warehouse use a POS mobile device.

Handheld POS Systems Streamline the Customer Experience

9 Oct 2018 by Steve Solomon

Consider this scenario: The checkout lines at Store A are backing up on a busy Saturday morning. Customers look impatiently at their watches. Others leave their merchandise behind and walk out the door.

Some customers will remember this shopping experience and never return. Others will go to a competitor or order online.

Store B, on the other hand, has sales people throughout the store with handheld Point-of-Sale (POS) systems. These devices allow customers to purchase items anywhere in the store. Retail clerks make quick sales, and satisfied customers are much more likely to make a return visit.

What is a handheld POS system?

A handheld POS system is a device used to process electronic payments anywhere within a retail location. The unit reads the information from a customer’s credit or debit card, checks available funds, transfers funds from the customer’s account to the seller’s account, records the transaction and prints a receipt. POS technology combines both software and hardware to complete the transaction.

Store A or B: Which category are you in?

You may think these devices are too unwieldy, too complicated and too expensive. However, advances in the technology, portability and affordability of handheld POS devices have made them a valuable option for major retailers. Handhelds simplify the retail business model and streamline the customer experience.

More than a cash register

If you’re looking for simple ways to improve customer relationships, you’ll want to consider these benefits of handheld POS systems:

  • Analysis: POS systems help flag sales patterns. Employees can quickly access a wealth of timely data and respond to customer demands.
  • Networking: Handheld POS devices may be networked to other terminals or to a remote server. This versatility allows managers to track a wide variety of operations and customize devices to adapt to changing needs.
  • Inventory management: POS systems track the highest product sellers and provide an automatic reorder reminder to replenish low stock. The devices can also provide real-time inventory reports.
  • Minimal user errors: Hitting a wrong key is always a risk when ringing up a sale, but POS devices have built-in checks to ensure accuracy.
  • Customer engagement: Retailers have easy access to customer loyalty features that inform valued shoppers about sales and other offers.
  • Employee satisfaction: Shorter customer lines and greater POS efficiencies minimize employee stress. That, in turn, could improve employee retention.

By providing these benefits, handheld POS devices can help you create competitive advantage and long-lasting customer relationships. How do you get to the data? Just plug in a POS device to a computer that connects to the back-office system. You can download results from every store device — consolidating, monitoring and monetizing the information in the format that suits you best. The immediate flow of detailed information about daily sales enhances the effectiveness of tech-savvy managers.

Additional advantages of cloud-based, handheld POS systems include streamlining the entire sales process by automating previously cumbersome sales reporting, analytics and inventory management information. Mobile POS devices free managers and employees to focus on other important issues, such as improving customer service.

Challenging online retailers

It’s no secret many brick-and-mortar retail stores are fighting off competition from online retailers such as eBay and Amazon. That’s one critical reason to solve the slow checkout problem in the Store A example before customers reach for their smartphone or laptop.

If you don’t recognize the increasing importance of modern technology and respond accordingly, you risk falling behind your competitors or being marginalized in a hyper-competitive atmosphere. Companies such as Ace Hardware and Sports Authority that pride themselves on their intense customer loyalty and personal service are ideal candidates for adopting handheld POS solutions.

Room for growth

The 2017 Retail Technology Report by Total Retail magazine analyzed trends, buying behaviors and future opportunities for retailers. It found approximately 32% of respondents currently have a POS system in place.1 And about 28% of survey respondents planned to increase POS spending within a year’s time while 65% intended to maintain the same budget.

Rather than maintaining the same budget, however, the case can be made to reallocate limited resources to handheld POS systems with direct customer benefits. This may be the simplest way to improve the customer experience and create long-lasting relationships.

The report statistics provide a strategic advantage to trailblazers who want to move ahead with the times. Smart retailers are taking market share away from challengers by pivoting to mobile devices.

Improve customer engagement.

The customer experience today is more important than ever. And bold merchants are doing everything they can to differentiate themselves in a hyper-competitive marketplace.

What are you doing to cultivate customer relationships? Handheld POS systems have a proven ability to streamline, automate and improve the sales experience. When it comes to emerging technologies, mobile POS devices may be the best place to start.

Engage your customers.

We’ll help you leverage technology to transform the customer experience and keep your competitive advantage.

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1 Total Retail, Radial and NAPCO Media. (2017). The 2017 Retail Technology Report. Mytotalretail.com.