by Jörn Leogrande
November 12, 2015

More large retailers are adopting mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems and reaping the benefits of increased sales

Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) terminals have come a long way from the debut of Square in 2010. Now, a new report from 451 Research predicts that the global installed base of mPOS devices will increase fourfold to just over 54 million units until 2019 from the current 13 million devices in the market today.

Mobile POS can give retailers a competitive advantage

“The overall view appears to be that the guinea pigs have gotten past the trial phase and now mobile POS is ready for prime time in mainstream retailing,” said a RIS Store Systems report.

What was once a nifty gadget for small businesses and pop-up shops is quickly becoming standard technology among large retailers. And it’s not hard to understand the transition, since mobile POS has long been associated with increased customer satisfaction as well as higher revenues.

 At a time when consumers have more choice than ever, technology that increases customer satisfaction and loyalty, such as mobile POS, can give retailers a much-needed competitive advantage.

Mobile Terminals are speeding up the whole purchasing process

According to a 2014 report by the IHL Group, 68 percent of survey respondents expected customer satisfaction levels to increase following a mobile POS rollout. As it turns out, they have good reason to believe it.

One of the primary functions of mobile POS terminals is to shorten the wait-time at checkout. Employees armed with mobile devices can scan items and total bills while customers are waiting in line, speeding up the whole purchasing process. This is known as “line-busting,” and the quicker queues are associated with higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Nowadays, however, mobile POS solutions are capable of more than just on-the-go checkouts. Larger retailers especially are beginning to use mobile terminals to check inventory, make online orders for customers, and schedule appointments, in addition to many other value-added services.

Helpful extras like these improve the shopping experience, and they could mean the difference between a repeat customer and a one-time shopper.

It’s a potential to raise revenue while cutting costs

If increased customer satisfaction and loyalty is one reason to adopt mobile POS, the potential to raise revenue while cutting costs is another.

The uplift in sales can be as high as 25 percent per customer, according to Greg Buzek, IHL founder. He attributes this to the fact that customers don’t feel they’re being “sold” something when they work side by side with a sales associate. This is a stark contrast to the confrontational, cross-counter stance at a traditional checkout.

Furthermore, stationary checkouts are expensive: five fixed registers cost a retailer around $20,000, compared to just $2,500 for five fully-loaded iPod Touch devices, according to a Yankee Group report. Plus, mobile devices take up significantly less floor space than traditional checkout counters.

If each square foot of floor space is worth $525 in sales, as Yankee Group estimates, a high-end retailer with 50 stores could ring up $1.2 million in additional annual sales simply by replacing three traditional checkouts with mobile POS terminals.

A reason to adopt mPOS is to keep up with the competition

There are numerous reasons to adopt mobile POS terminals, but one of the most significant ones may be this: simply to keep up with the competition. 82 percent of retailers surveyed in the RIS study listed “mobile” as their number one priority. In the next years, the number of retailers using mobile devices is expected to triple.

Just as many people now wonder how they ever managed to carry out everyday tasks in the pre-smartphone era, people soon will find it hard to remember a time when mobile devices did not serve double duty as cash registers.