From The Editor | August 15, 2013

Mobile POS: Way More Than Marketing Hype

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

BSM-Mobile Cloud POS

Do you think mobile POS is just hype? Stephen Bergeron VP of global marketing at APG Cash Drawer compiled a strong argument to the contrary in his presentation “Mobility and Cash Transactions: Emerging Technology In Retail” at RSPA’s RetailNOW 2013 Aug. 4-7, 2013, in Las Vegas.

He compiled data from a number of surveys that show the demand — and the market — for mobile POS is a reality across all verticals. “Expanding the Boundaries of POS,” a June 2013 RIS study, reveals 16.7 percent of businesses surveyed have long-term plans to eliminate all fixed POS stations. In the short term, 36.1 percent plan to replace 1 or 2 fixed stations with mobile.  

“Mobile POS: Hype to Reality,” a 2013 IHL group study, states specialty retailers — mostly small, independent retailers and mall-based specialty chains — are deploying about 45 percent of all tablets shipped to retail for POS. This study also projects 12.4 percent of traditional POS shipments will be replaced with mobile POS by 2016, with highest replacements in department stores and specialty soft goods retailers. In addition, sales of mobile POS hardware and software in 2013 are expected to exceed $2 billion.

Stores Are Shopping For POS This Year

The Boston Retail Partners 14th Annual POS Benchmarking Survey 2013 shows retailers will, in general, spend 2013 researching their options, reviewing the competition’s infrastructure, and understanding their own requirements before selecting new technology — and implementing it in 2014. The study says the goal is to leverage shoppers’ own smartphones to make payments in stores and to have the ability to bring POS to customers anywhere in the stores. The study shows 44 percent plan to implement POS platform expansion in the next two years and 32 percent plan to implement in two or more years. Of retailers surveyed, 54.3 percent plan to replace 1 or 2 fixed POS stations initially, with 28.6 percent planning to replace 10 or more fixed stations in the long term. 

Bergeron added that as retailers deploy new technology, they will also consider new security systems. He added these systems are “mobile” as well, some offering text or message alerts to warn of security breaches.

Will That Be Cash?

Bergeron added to his presentation that despite the trend toward mobile payments, “Cash still wears the crown.” He said cash is accepted everywhere, it means the quickest transaction, and it’s influential — the immediacy of cash has negotiating power. It also means the retailer pays no processing fees, and it means the consumer can make a transaction that is private, simple, and direct.

He included a quote from “The Less-Cash Society: Forecasting Cash Usage in the United States,” by Ron Shevlin, senior analyst with Aite Group: “Despite forecasts of a cashless society, the United States is nowhere near the realization of this vision. In fact, if the use of cash were to decline by 17 percent every five years — our forecast for 2015 — the use of cash in the United States wouldn’t fall below US$1 billion before the year 2205, roughly 200 years from now.”

At the conclusion of his presentation, Bergeron challenged those attending to learn more — at RetailNOW he suggested visiting vendors in the exhibit hall to learn about their solutions to the industry’s demand for more mobility.