Mobile Point of Sale systems (mPOS) is a relatively new way of accepting payments in the retail industry. As strongly expected, it has rapidly gained widespread use to become the go-to for small, and even medium-to-large scale businesses.
Retailers have been using this technology to accept debit and credit cards, which is more convenient for their customers. These types of payment processors allow retailers to easily track inventory and sales with built-in software that can be installed on most devices such as iPads or tablets with wireless internet capabilities.
These devices also make it easier for merchants to manage their accounts online from anywhere in the world by going through a secure portal that has all the information they need at their fingertips!
The best part about these services? They’re generally free or very inexpensive compared to traditional POS system options! Little wonder reports indicate its growing popularity, especially among restaurant businesses owners.
It’s important to know that there are different types of mPOS available, each one with its own unique features and benefits. Some of them will be better suited to certain business models than others, so it’s worth doing your research before committing to anything.
We’ll go over all this in detail below so keep reading if you want to unpack more. What exactly are mPOS? What are their uses? How do they work? Let’s find out…
What is a mPOS system?
mPOS systems enable you to set up a register at your business using a smartphone or tablet running a mobile operating system like Android or iOS (We consider this super cool as against carrying bulky hardware!) This allows you to use a handheld device as a point of sale terminal accepting credit card payments.
In general, they are low-cost and offer a chock full of benefits for small business owners. They also allow for easy transactions and quick payment processing without having to worry about dealing with physical cash or credit cards in large amounts!
What is an mPOS machine?
Simply put, an mPOS system is a tablet-based POS terminal that uses wifi or 4G/3G to communicate with payment processing servers and software.
The biggest advantage on offer when using this type of POS system is its mobility, as it can be used anywhere as long as your mobile device can connect to the Internet. This means no more taking your clunky, heavy cash register or your chunky computer POS hardware.
What is the difference between mPOS and POS?
Point of Sale or POS (for short) is the term used to define all aspects involved with running a business and taking payments from customers at full tables. However, mPOS stands for mobile point-of-purchase where tablets are being used instead because they require less tech-savvy, they’re less expensive to manage, and they’re seamless.
These modern (whether mobile or tablet) devices can be linked up wirelessly through cloud technology which allows retailers access logs right into their computer about what happened during any given shift without having to rely on another system as old-school cash registers did.
Typically, mPOS systems are useful in any situation where you would normally require a POS for your business such as: at shows, conventions, expos, trade shows, pop-up shops, and more!
mPOS are often preferred over traditional POS systems because a new POS system can be expensive (though there are affordable options for those who don’t have the budget)
A lot goes into setting up your business’s Point-of-Sale (POS) system: You need certain hardware such as credit card readers and point-of-sale software applications from vendors like Square Register LLC., along with phone lines in order to dial out remotely manage inventory from afar using cell phones too!
If not done right away then this process could require upfront investment – say $2-$5k just on initial start-up costs alone. However, for an mPOS, you may want to consider renting a device or purchasing one at a fraction of what it would cost with traditional equipment.
Benefits of using a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system
As earlier mentioned, there’re an anatomically correct handful of benefits to mPOS’ value-laden suite of functionalities! Here are just a few that come to mind:
1. Low installation costs (when compared to traditional POS)
mPOS systems can be used almost anywhere, so their initial purchase price is quite low compared to the up-front cost of buying traditional POS hardware.
2. Better customer service with mobile POS technology
Customers appreciate being able to use their credit cards or debit cards for transactions as opposed to having to carry cash around everywhere they go. This has led many customers to prefer them over older alternatives because it creates convenience, which brings us to our next point.
3. A more personalized customer experience
mPOS’ customer-facing features mean it can be used to better engage customers! For instance, Software Advice’s study found that customers who were allowed to complete their payment process themselves left more tips.
With mPOS, you can also build an enchanting customer loyalty program by offering your most loyal customers perks like discounts and free shipping on orders placed on your website.
4. Improved inventory tracking capabilities
One of the reasons mPOS is becoming so popular with retailers is that they allow for an easier way to track inventory and sales data in real-time, making it easier to maintain accurate records, reports, etc. This can ultimately lead to higher profits if you know what exactly sells how much over a period of time!
5. Better connectivity, convenience & mobility
There’s no need for bulky hardware thanks to mPOS systems that use mobile devices, and this makes it possible to do business almost anywhere beyond your brick-and-mortar store.
Whether you’re at home, in your store, or on the road, mPOS systems make it easy to get things running smoothly. Plus, built-in WiFi or wireless internet access on most mobile devices running mPOS software means you’ll be able to process transactions faster than ever!
6. It’s easy to operate!
mPOS is a simple and easy payment option for businesses of all sizes. Unlike other methods, mPOS comes ready-made as the software used in this type of system has been designed primarily by users who wanted an intuitive interface – making it perfect even without extensive customer service experience!
If you’re using mPOS for, say, a restaurant, you could purchase multiple devices (like smartphones) at once, so your delivery personnel doesn’t have to wait around on hold while you’re busy serving customers.
mPOS – Drawbacks
There are always going to be some challenges when using a new system like the mPOS. However, there’s really nothing significant standing in your way! Here’re a few challenges we think business owners might face:
1. Processing power
Compared to regular point of sale terminals, mobile devices have lower processing capabilities which means they can’t handle as much data at once.
Albeit, the same can be said of conventional POS systems. If you’re planning on processing transactions in a row then you may want to think about some alternatives.
2. Storage space
Without a doubt, mobile devices have less memory than regular computer hardware and this can lead to issues if you’re planning on using an mPOS machine in conjunction with more advanced features like barcode scanning and more.
This can be solved however by simply attaching an external hard drive which often won’t be necessary anyway!
3. Penetrable cyber security
Cybersecurity has been mooted as a key concern, the reason being that the backend system of mPOS apps is particularly vulnerable to hacks.
Unlike closed payment processing systems which rely on their security and commercial off-the-shelf devices for protection against outside attack; mPOS applications require both an app running in parallel with its own operating system or downloadable client software depending upon what type you use (iOS/Android).
This means that if hackers penetrate one device – they can potentially compromise others too! To keep yourself safe, ensure your password protects only what should be accessed at any given time so no data gets leaked out during these breaches either.
How to choose the right mPOS for your business
While the software-backed mPOS has been shown to crank up sales and cut off expenses over time, some effort has to go into making sure you’re getting one that’ll serve your purpose.
This begs the question, “How do you go about choosing a POS system?” It can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s a lot easier than you think. Here’re the most important factors to consider when doing your research:
1. Hardware Compatibility
While It may be tempting to get a cheap Android or iOS tablet from Walmart for your mPOS machine, if it isn’t compatible with your current hardware (cash drawer, receipt printer), it simply won’t work.
So, part of your due diligence entails ensuring that your equipment is listed on the POS systems compatibility list before purchasing anything. You also want to extend your reach of care towards ensuring that your mPOS can be re-used with other software apps in the likely event that you decide to make a change in the future.
2. Customer Reviews
Reading online reviews is an excellent way to gauge how your customers will think of the new system. If you don’t have time to read all of them (and yes, there are many), check out what some major publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and even Google think about the ones they’ve reviewed.
It’s a very easy way to find out which ones are worth your money without spending hours reading through user reviews on Amazon.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the mPOS company’s website too!
How large is your store? Will you need more than one POS station at any point in time? If so, then you’ll want to get an mPOS system that will allow you to add on additional equipment when necessary.
Don’t forget to think about what the average customer traffic flow looks like, too—if a large portion of people have to stand in line while waiting for employees or kiosks to become available, they may give up and leave before completing their purchases.
4. Costs & Fees
Some mPOS systems require a monthly fee while others don’t. Some charge card fees while don’t. Since some things like card fees can be a real pain to fulfill (sometimes we end up having to eat the costs), it’s important that you find out what your monthly expenses will look like before thinking of making a final purchase.
5. Additional Features
Do you care about loyalty programs? Do customers seem to complain about long lines and wait times as often as they spin a good yarn about your great customer service? If so, then some mPOS systems have features designed specifically for those types of problems, such as product ordering and online customer tracking.
If these are important to you, make sure the mPOS system you’re about to purchase takes stock of these features before your purchase it. Features like how it integrates with your accounting system are also worth putting under consideration.
6. How Long Will You Need It?
Similar to cars, some mPOS systems will come with more bells and whistles than others (and as a result, higher costs!). If you’re planning on keeping your store open for at least the next five years, you’ll want to get one of the pricier ones because they often last that long or longer (unlike cheaper options that may need replacing in two or three years).
How to get the most out of your mPOS system
It’s a given that with mPOS, you don’t need ‘tech smart’. However, there are best practices you need to implement to get the best out of your mPOS system. And as with all things in life, if you have a POS system, it’d be best to learn how to use the mPOS system even before going on a spending spree.
That way, while shopping, your business can serve customers and bring more revenue without having to do much. The following tips should help you properly implement and get the most out of your mPOS:
1. Decide what kind of mPOS system best fits your needs
There are three different types of mPOS systems available in the market today, each with its own set of hardware and software features that can help you accomplish specific tasks. These include:
A. Tablet-Based System
A tablet-based POS machine that allows businesses to accept payment by swiping customers’ credit or debit cards on a portable tablet device. The benefit is that it does not need an internet connection. No Wi-Fi or GPRS/3G/4G is required for processing transactions. However, it means there are limits to additional functionalities.
B. Hybrid MPOS System
This type of POS system combines the best aspects of traditional cash registers with modern tablet computers. Like the conventional POS system, it has a stand to sit on top of for taking orders and swiping cards. However, it also comes equipped with an integrated printer that prints receipts or vouchers right there at your counter. This eliminates the need for employees to bring customers their printed tickets after they settle their bills.
C. Advanced Hybrid System
This kind is by far the most feature-rich option available in the market today. It allows you to conduct sales, return merchandise, perform inventory management, and track sales trends all through its Android operating system so you can access these features anywhere, even without an Internet connection!
2. Consider how many employees work in your store at one time
If more than five people are handling the floor, consider an mPOS system equipped with a touchscreen or virtual keyboard to speed up data entry.
3. Decide how committed you are to tech before choosing which type of mPOS machine to use in your shop
If you want to go high-tech and implement new technologies like Apple Pay (Apple’s contactless payment system), check if it can be used through your chosen mPOS platform.
In addition to a powerful, functioning WI-FI connection, you should make loads of provisions for enough charging stations to ensure your mPOS gadgets never cost you sales from the avoidable incidence of a low battery.
4. Proper Training
Your employees play a significant role in ensuring all transactions are processed smoothly by maintaining an organized queue for customers and ensuring they know what actions to take when using the mPOS system. So, you need to ensure you have properly trained your employees to use the system before bringing it live into the store.
Each person must know their responsibilities as well as those of other staff members before bringing a new tool into your business. This will prevent disruptions or slowdowns caused by miscommunication or broken processes resulting from not knowing how to use new equipment.
Taking out some time to train every employee who has access to it will help you navigate tricky aspects, for instance, knowing how to move from one app to another and back again without any trouble. This also includes knowing where some of the common buttons are located on your device for switching between applications quickly (i.e., swipe down menu).
5. Ensure that your mPOS system can be integrated into your existing infrastructure
We don’t consider it a great idea to purchase an entirely new system just for the sake of accepting mobile payments—more so when you’re already satisfied with your current inventory and point-of-sale systems.
You know how the cliche goes: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. : )
6. Make sure you have enough funds set aside before choosing an mPOS provider
POS machines always demand monthly fees as long they remain connected to the Internet to keep your business operational. Having a stable cash flow is recommended when choosing an mPOS system so that you don’t overextend yourself with monthly payments.
For instance, for existing merchants in the United States who accept Visa payWave transactions on their point-of-sale systems, the network fee is currently 0.80% of each transaction.
This means that if you want to process $100 worth of Apple Pay transactions through their platform, it will cost you at least an additional 80 cents every time ($0.80 X 100 = $80). Even though this may seem cheap, it can add up quickly and eat into your profits if this number gets multiplied by hundreds or thousands of sales throughout the day!
A recent study conducted by Transparency Market Research projected the global mPOS market to experience a 38% compound annual growth rate within 2015 to 2024. With cash on steady decline in places like the US and other areas, you can expect that mPOS systems will go mainstream faster than you expect.
And retailers are already inventing ways to incorporate these technologies into their stores. One such company is Walgreens who recently added a mPOS platform for in-store transactions. HP retailers are also hopping this bandwagon and this can only suggest one thing — mPOS, much previously touted ‘the future’, is already in our faces.
A revolutionary payment processing system that offers unparalleled ease of use, mPOS has proven a game-changer in the global economic landscape. It has predictable pricing and the ability for merchants to offer their customers an innovative loyalty scheme and credit card processor all in one solution!
It’s worth mentioning that mPOS’ arrival has come at just about perfect time as well. With traditional POS systems costing considerably more, younger generations (most esp. Millennials and Gen Z) moving away from cash entirely, and business owners constantly looking for ways to supercharge the omnichannel customer experience and crank up sales, we hardly see mPOS’ already-gained reach dwindling anytime soon.