Why your store needs mobile POS

A flexible payments system can break up lines and boost transaction values

The lines between physical and virtual shopping have officially blurred. Shoppers today expect the same fluidity, convenience, and speed from brick-and-mortar retail environments as they do when browsing online. Retailers that don’t understand this will struggle, particularly in their attempts to appeal to younger shoppers.

So how to design a store that has all this fluid motion built into the checkout process? One important component: mobile payment terminals, or mobile point of sale (mPOS). These are wireless, portable devices that let store staff accept payments anywhere on the shop floor.

In fact, if you’re an entrepreneur in today’s ultra-competitive retail landscape, the success of your business can hinge on your ability to accept payments quickly and seamlessly, anywhere and at any time.

1. Mobile terminals bust queues

First, the good news: A 2017 PwC survey showed that more than 40% of global consumers shop in a physical store at least once a week.

But once they get there, consumers have little patience for long lines. In a recent Adyen survey, nearly four in five shoppers admitted they leave stores due to long lines or waits, and the average threshold before ditching the line is 10 minutes. They also said crowds and long lines are the top two reasons they would avoid a brick-and-mortar store. Look no further than the completely checkout-less Amazon Go store for proof that a store with no lines is truly the store of the future.

Once a shopper leaves a line, the situation is fairly bleak. Adyen data shows that after bailing, 73% of shoppers will either abandon the purchase altogether or buy it from another retailer (either in-store or online).

2. Mobile payments mean higher transaction values

Perhaps it’s the sheer convenience of skipping the line. Or the ability to catch shoppers before they have time to think twice about that second pair of shoes. Whatever the reasons, Adyen data shows a distinct trend: retail stores that use mobile payment devices consistently ring up higher average transaction values than those using only fixed, or countertop, terminals.

According to our 2017 data, in upscale fashion stores that used both mobile and fixed terminals, retailers saw up to 50% higher transaction values on mobile terminals. The percentage was particularly high in retail chains where a store associate worked one-on-one with a customer. “It gives them less time to doubt,” says Eric Mahecha, Adyen’s Vice President of Retail Business Development. “The ability to pay on the spot stops the customer from having buyer’s remorse. They don’t have time to wonder — Do I really need this?”

In prior decades, an impulse buy for customers in line might have been a magazine or a pack of gum. Now, the impulse buy might be an entire second outfit.

3. Customers will demand an endless aisle — or go elsewhere

Today’s wired shoppers are increasingly accustomed to browsing and ordering products not available in physical stores. An “endless aisle,” which lets customers browse your full inventory on a mobile terminal or other device, has a direct positive impact on revenue. The endless aisle approach lets store staff present customers with upsell and cross-sell recommendations, all available within a few clicks.

When customers don’t find what they want and have no way to order it, the drop-off rate is high. According to Forrester Research, approximately 10 percent of sales in retail settings are lost because items are out of stock. Another important factor for the in-store shopping experience, according to Adyen data, is the “ability to check other store or online stock quickly,” which 68% of our global sample cite.

4. If a customer is interested, never interupt the flow

With mobile payment terminals, shoppers can focus on store staff and the products they’re buying, not the process of buying them. “A mobile device keeps a certain flow going inside a store, a fluid interaction with a customer,” says Mahecha, who spent five years at New York City-based fashion retailer Tory Burch prior to joining Adyen. “Whatever you do, you don’t want to break that connection.”

The best store associates stay glued to their customers, gathering more information with each step. What sorts of sneakers have they bought in the past? In which colors? For what types of events? For both a staffer and a customer, having a mobile terminal in hand means keeping the conversation going right to the end — an experience that’s frankly more fun for both parties.

5. Mobile devices are better for pop-ups — or in any special delivery method

Pop-up stores may be temporary, but the idea behind them is here to stay. They help retailers make use of vacant space. They’ve made their way into the marketing budgets of major corporations. A 2012 study found that they appeal to the part of the brain that loves novelty and uniqueness, which retailers can use as they do battle with online megastores.

For retailers, a pop-up is an easy way to test a new product in any market. “It’s the food truck mentality,” says Mahecha. “You don’t have to sink so much time or money into a space, but you can still drive traffic and build buzz.”

As a practical matter, mobile devices save hours of prep time in a pop-up. No getting registers live or negotiating database licenses. “You light them up and they go,” he says.

For special deliveries during peak shopping months, a mobile POS terminal lets you process secure payments quickly from any event or at your customer’s doorstep. Adyen’s 3G backup terminals also provide a reliable backup even if your network goes down and lets you extend your store as far as your cellular network reaches.

“No matter what kind of product you’re selling, the mobile terminal lets you add more value,” says Mahecha.

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