People talk about how innovative mobile POS is so much that mobile POS is verging on becoming a buzzword. Yet despite the hype of mobile POS, very few stores have really done anything particularly new with theirs. The place mobile POS has had the biggest innovative impact is in mobile retail and hospitality – food and fashion trucks have made huge use of mobile. Brick-and-mortars, however, have relegated mobile very much to just being downsized registers.
This may be largely due to the fact that as a store runs day-to-day, there’s very little time to come up with new ways to utilize your technology. Just keeping up with the customers and folding, resetting, and managing inventory is more than a full time job for any manager. To help save you some time, I’ve come up with a few easy ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your technology. You’re paying good money for it, after all.
1. Ring happy customers up in the fitting room.
All retail sales people have been there: Your customer loves the outfit in the fitting room, but somewhere on the walk from the fitting room to the register, they get hit with deep guilt and change their minds. It’s typically accompanied (at women’s clothing stores) with a very weak, “My husband really would kill me.” Too bad you can’t just ring them up in the fitting room while they’re still happy. Oh wait….
With a mobile POS, you can go ahead a do the transaction while the customer is still focused on your product’s benefits. Bring the register to wherever the customer is on the floor. Not only does this guarantee that the customer purchases while they’re still happy, but it also helps cut down on price shopping (whether via the internet or just right there in your store). Case in point: a Sephora employee once rung me up right at the makeover station while I was still in awe of how good she’d made my face look. I ended up spending about $100 more than I would’ve if I’d wandered around the store and realized I probably could’ve gone with a cheaper highlighter than Dior’s. (Seriously, though, it’s my favorite product and no one tell my husband how much it costs.)
2. Use it as an inventory reference on the floor.
One of the most frustrating parts of being a sales associate is constantly having to run to the back to check for something. It’s extra frustrating when you come out empty handed. At the store I worked at, if we came up empty handed we had to trudge over to the ancient POS to look the item up on the even more ancient intranet to see if any of our stores had the item. The process invariably took at least 10 minutes, and because our system was not fully on the cloud, the inventory system was only updated every 48 hours. We had a rule that if a store was showing one of something, it meant the store probably didn’t have it.
Mobile POS eliminates this problem. First, a sales associate can quickly run a search right in front of the customer to find out if they actually should run to the back or if they need to order the product from a different location. Additionally, mobile POS can place the order for the customer right there and then so that the customer can keep shopping virtually uninterrupted. (Older methods involved having to order from the other store over the phone, or worse – the customer actually having to trek out to the other store.)
3. Make sales at events.
Our store used to run occasional events outside, like a fashion show. The events were always big hits, but we rarely made any sales directly off of them because we had no way to sell the clothes that we brought. We’d have to convince customers to come to the store at a later date and purchase with us then.
With mPOS, not only can you ring customers up right there at the event, but you don’t even have to bring all your stock if you decide not to. You can ring in eCommerce orders – that way, no one has to drag any merchandise around.
Additionally, mPOS offers stores of all kinds, not just mobile stores, the opportunity to sell at farmer’s markets, festivals, and pop-up shops. One of my favorite eCommerce stores, Modcloth, for instance, has used mPOS technology to power a five city pop-up shop tour of the US.
4. Use mobile POS to get inspiration for floor sets.
One of the worst things about floor sets (besides staying up all night literally just folding things) was losing all the pieces of paper that the different walls of the floor were illustrated on. It was a nightmare.
A mobile POS can also run other apps (in addition to the POS app) that allow merchandising teams to keep all these illustrations in one place, which saves everybody paper and time. Additionally, for large merchandising teams, apps like Foko can be used to share ideas for future floor set-ups.
How does your store use its mobile POSs? Has mobile changed the way you do business? Share with us in the comments below!