One of the more interesting discussions in retail circles is about the future of the POS terminal. For years, the place where customers made payments didn't change - a counter with a cash register. While the technology did advance - adding devices like a credit card reader - the general concept did not. However, the introduction of mobile technology is offering a new solution that could have a large impact in the next year.
A recent guest column for Retail Info Systems News by Jay Graham - the vice president of tech solutions at Randstad Technologies - dove into a number of different trends that will affect the point of sales industry in 2013. Several of his predictions, like social media integration, customized marketing and increased customer loyalty programs, will not change how customers actually pay for things. However, he did touch on one that will.
The biggest area of change Graham predicts will be in the tablet POS system market. Mobile device functionality has evolved to the point that with the right application, peripheral add on and network security, the cash register is now in the palm of your hand. Also, it's a device that consumers and employees are comfortable with.
"The touch screen aspects offered by most mobile POS devices are more intuitive than traditional systems," wrote Graham. "Mobile POS systems do not require complex configurations or the need for a backup server. Most employees are efficient with smartphones and tablets, which not only save time from a training staff perspective, but also offer self-service for customers, yet another example of increased efficiency and differentiating value in the storefront."
In the end, only time will tell how far the tablet POS push will reach. What is clear is that the entire payment industry is changing and every merchant in B2C and B2B need to keep an eye out.