Traditional POS at a Tipping Point?

A couple of studies undertaken by US publication RIS News recently got me thinking seriously about the future of retail Point of Sale systems installed at the majority of retailers today.  Is retail Point of Sale (POS) technology at a tipping point now? Could retailers potentially be facing a requirement for a major upgrade of their customer facing systems over the next 12 months?  Should they be thinking about it now?

iPad POSI feel that the answer to all of those questions is a definite “Yes”!  If so then what are these new customer facing systems going to look like?  For the answers the stats in the RIS Studies are quite illuminating.

Firstly in an RIS News study by Joe Skopura on “The Y2K Moment for POS” found here there are some great insights into the future of POS systems in the US.  No-one would argue that retailing has changed significantly and structurally over the last couple of years.  The model for physical stores is under siege “Stores are over built, downward margin pressure is a contagion, fixed costs are rising, online and mobile shopping is booming, and showrooming is catching fire”.

To be effective, POS must now be cross-channel ready and enabled where the customer wants you, when they want you, armed with the information they want – out on the shop floor with the customer.  As the hub of the customer experience the retail store can offer a powerful face to face advantage over online as long as the sales associates are empowered with the technology and information to meet the needs of the educated and now mobile equipped shoppers.

In the study 61% of retail respondents said that their POS is more that 5 years old (the number will be similar in Australia) and 48.8% noted that they would need to change in the next 12 months.  With the “Addition of Mobile POS” being the main driver to upgrade (60%) along with “Enabling Multi Channel selling in store” (60%) and “Enabling new Payment options” (52.5%).

Why POS and Why now?  Simple POS is the essential store operations platform and the pivotal enabler for additional services to improve the customer shopping experience.  To combat further erosion of market share and margins to online – retailers need to act now!  The fact that retailers are looking at mobile POS as a key driver and new (read mobile) payment options shows that retailers are looking to replace expensive fixed POS terminals and static counters with cheaper mobile devices that allow sales associates to get out from behind the counter onto the shop floor to serve the customer better at the point of decision rather than letting customers walk out the door to buy online later.

The Sleeping Giants Of African Mobile Payments

As mobile phones become widespread in across Africa they have leapfrogged over Credit Cards all together for true digital money.

TechCrunch

Kenya’s M-PESA is the poster child for mobile money services in Africa, but it is also increasingly gaining attention further abroad. It is, however, only one of the mobile payment systems on the continent that have bypassed the typical financial rites of passage and are very quickly catapulting consumers into a truly cashless economy, as well as transforming lives in a very real sense.

To make a sweeping generalization about a very large and very diverse continent, Africa has three characteristics that have created fertile ground for the growth of mobile money. Firstly, there is the enormous uptake of mobile phones across the continent: according to the African Development Bank there were fewer than two million mobile phones users in Africa in 1998. This number grew to more than 400 million by 2009 and the GSM Association predicts cellphone numbers will top 735 million by the end of this year…

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Vodafone To Launch Mobile Wallet Service Next Year; Inks Deals With M-Commerce Company, CorFire, Digital Security Firm Gemalto

Initial Vodafone wallet rollout will be with NFC powered Android mobile phones across Europe.

TechCrunch

Yet another mobile wallet is lining up to replace your leather-wrapped bundle of plastic: Vodafone Group, which owns and operates the Vodafone mobile carrier brands, is partnering with m-commerce company CorFire to bring NFC-powered mobile wallet capabilities to its smartphone users next year. In a release put out by CorFire today, it said it would be “providing mobile wallet capabilities to Vodafone Group, enabling Vodafone’s customers to use their smartphones to conduct a number of transactions, including paying for goods and services at the point of sale, during 2013”.

CorFire confirmed to TechCrunch that the initial focus for the Vodafone rollout will be NFC enabled Android devices. It added: “CorFire, through its CorPay solution, is helping Vodafone create a virtual mobile wallet which will eventually allow consumers to move their physical wallets – everything from credit and debit cards to membership and travel cards – into their smartphones.

“The solution…

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iZettle takes on Payleven in Germany with Deutsche Telekom deal

iZettle and PayLeven battle it out in the European market – where partnerships with banks and payment networks are key.

Gigaom

Square is starting to take its first steps outside the U.S., but it’s still a way off from entering the European market. So on mainland Europe, certainly, we’re still looking at a war between Square’s clones: Sweden’s iZettle and Germany’s Payleven.

Having recently scored an investment from American Express, iZettle – already present in the Nordic countries and the UK – has just inked major deals for its German push. The company is partnering with both DZ Bank and the giant telco Deutsche Telekom, the latter of which will be pushing iZettle’s mobile payments gadgets in stores across the country.

“Strategically, Germany is one of our core markets, and we are committed to serving everyone from individuals to small businesses here long term,” iZettle CEO Jacob de Geer said in a statement.

“Our ambition is to become the undisputed market leader in Germany and given the partnerships with…

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Isis in action: It’s pretty simple but no replacement wallet

Gigaom

The mobile carrier payment platform Isis launched Monday in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah; and it works pretty much as advertised. After a lousy initial experience with the service when my phone wasn’t supported and I couldn’t even find merchants who knew about the program or accepted Isis, I scored a review phone from Isis and Verizon so I could purchase my coffees and gas with nary a wallet.

Right now a scant 11 phones are supporting the Isis program, which requires a special SIM card in the phone and an NFC chip. To activate the service, a user must go into the store to get an Isis SIM card and must also download the Isis app. It’s pretty painless. After selecting a PIN you have an option of choosing to link a credit card or use a pre-paid option that you top up using a credit card…

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Square Takes Its First International Step: Payment Service Now Live In Canada

Square moves international – Canada first, who is next? Square now worth $3.25B!

TechCrunch

Square has taken its first step outside of the U.S. for its mobile payment service: it is now live in Canada. The company said today that its mobile card reader/processor is now available nationwide, priced at the same rate as in its home market: 2.75% per swipe. In the U.S. there are now 2 million businesses using Square’s system, making a total of $8 billion in annualized payments.

This is a sign that the company has come good on its promise that it would start to make its first international moves by the end of this year — a commitment that it made when it announced its latest round of funding, a Series D of $200 million, in September. That investment reportedly valued the company at $3.25 billion.

Canada is an easy and obvious move for the company. The physical proximity of the country makes it potentially easier on…

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The shopper genome project

Absolutely agree. In a world where smart devices are growing like crazy and (finally!) offer the promise of the right offer to the right customer at the right time, you had better be able to follow consumers as they channel hop and to deliver permission-based, highly relevant and personalized communications.

Steve Dennis

No doubt you’ve heard of The Human Genome Project–the effort to decode our species by identifying and mapping all of our genes. Ultimately it’s an effort to better understand what makes us tick, from both a functional and physical standpoint.

As a business or brand leader you have a similar challenge when it comes to decoding your current and potential consumers’ attitudes, needs and behaviors.

In a world of vast and growing choices, the pressure is only increasing to develop deep, actionable insight into your customer base.

In a world where most segments are growing slowly, your only chance for out-sized growth is to gain market share. And that requires understanding which levers to pull that are compelling enough to win new clients or grow share of wallet with existing ones.

In a world where most competitors are either engaged in a race to the bottom or stuck in tired…

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