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The Retail Point of Sales (POS) Revolution – Traditional POS vs Mobile POS


A point of sales (POS) system is at the hub of every retail business and typically the largest single technical investment. Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) technologies are transforming the brick-and-mortar retail, hospitality and events industries. While mobile POS (mPOS) has gained popularity with tech and fashion retailers, others consider a hybrid mobile POS solution offer as many benefits. Transactions and processes once tethered to traditional, fixed cash registers at the front of a store are being shipped to showroom floors, product aisles, and outdoor venues.

mPOS systems are proving to be an important tool for improving customer satisfaction and preventing defections. Mobile point-of-sale solutions are helping businesses complete sales more quickly, more securely and more intelligently than ever before.

You’ve seen it before

Mobile point-of-sale technology isn’t new. Rental car companies adopted mPOS technologies in the 1990s, deploying handheld computers, scanners and printers to enable onsite agents to check in returned cars in a fraction of the time required by desk-bound staff. The deployments removed a major hassle for travelers anxious to get to their flights and yielded big gains in customer satisfaction and streamlined operations.

Where it works well

The well-known retailer Nordstrom has been a leader with integrating mPOS into their stores. Originating in Seattle, Nordstrom is well known for maintaining an unprecedented level of customer service and selling fashionable luxury apparel. mPOS improved customer service, and sales staff can now offer to check out a customer almost anywhere in the store. Consider how this is an ideal scenario for an mPOS system since most customers do not purchase products in large quantities, and they weigh considerably less than products purchased in a grocery or houseware retailer.


Traditional stationary POS has value over mobile POS

While mobile POS can bring value to retailers like Nordstrom, there are many aspects of traditional POS a mobile system is unable to match.  One example is how logistical issues of mobile transactions can be awkward. There is the question of where a customer places their bag or basket, how do employees bag items or worst of all: how is it possible to juggle everything when a customer needs to provide a signature. As a result of these issues, many stores will see a need for a traditional POS area.

“The traditional cash-wrap does much more than just scanning items. All the other steps in the checkout process, such as bagging, removing security tags, accepting coupons, etc., must be managed, even when using mobile devices. Mobile POS can't replace traditional checkout lanes in all circumstances, so it's crucial to find where mobile devices can enhance the customer experience and operational efficiencies of staff.” - -David Dorf, Sr. Director of Technology Strategy, Oracle Retail

Another issue encountered when using mobile POS is battery life. Since most mobile devices only have a battery life of 4-8 hours – many devices are unable to last an entire shift. Durability may be a factor in a more rugged retail environment where damage to the mPOS equipment will be costly and potentially cause disruptions in service.

Hybrid - a little of this, a little of that

Innovative retailers could potentially harness the benefits of the stationary POS systems and mobile POS systems by combining the best elements of both. The flexible location is an important factor of mobile POS, and so a mobile cart with portable battery power would be an ideal solution for many retailers. All essential POS supplies and hardware can be stored on a mobile cart, giving sales employees the ability to harness the power of mobile POS to increase customer experience and efficiencies.

Portable power for 8 to 12 hours a day

Newcastle Systems’ mobile carts with portable power are made to be durable and can power devices for 8 to 24 hours. (Depending on the equipment used)  The powered mobile carts also solve the problem mobile POS systems have by providing an area for bagging, printing, and signing while still offering the special advantage of being completely mobile. Sales staff will be free to move to where the customer needs service, instead of requiring customers to understand how to search the store.  

The convenience of portable powered carts for POS can be moved where it is most convenient for customers.  As business fluctuates, POS systems can be moved to accommodate the peaks and valleys.  Such flexibility improves efficiency, customer service and, security that leads to increased profits.

The RC Series is our most economical, compact cart system for laptops.  It continues the modular concept of other Newcastle Systems’ carts creating a full workstation solution. 

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Topics: Retail POS Carts