2017 Outlook: POS Trends to Watch
Each year brings new opportunities and opens doors to fresh possibilities with a reaffirmation of trends and patterns. 2017 is no different for the retail and hospitality industry, as we expect to witness a protraction of the trend toward mobility, cloud-based solutions and the emergence of unified commerce strategies. Here are some trends to watch for in 2017:
- Tablet POS Continues to Grow
Increasingly more customers are requesting products designed for tablets and mobile POS. Although both solutions are typically cloud-based, one is stationary and the other is mobile. This aligns with a trend in hospitality, convenience, retail and service stations to use tablets for checkout and data access. With mobile POS gaining traction, heavy-duty peripherals are giving way to more cost-effective hardware. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on POS components, companies now are spending hundreds.
- Bricks and Mortar vs. Online
Despite online competition, brick-and-mortar retail is still alive and doing well. Online retailers (e.g. Amazon) are setting foot into the physical domain while physical stores continuously strive to offer a more online-like experience by, for instance, making tablets available for transactions and information lookup. Shoppers can place orders from home for store pickup and vice versa. The future of retail will combine elements in an emerging Unified Commerce. In many cases the retail store is becoming a local warehouse.
- Mobile Wallets Buzz
Notwithstanding all the buzz around mobile wallets such as Google Wallet, they haven’t displaced cash, nor are they likely to. As consumers become more budget-conscious, many would rather avoid the blind spending that comes with mobile wallets. While some users will prefer the convenience of electronic payments, ultimately what we’ll see is a healthy mix of plastic, electronic and cash payments.
- Expanding Cloud
The trend to deploy POS systems and peripherals in the cloud will continue to gain traction in a pay-as-you-go model that makes it easier for customers to access the latest technology and keep their systems updated. For resellers, this approach creates opportunities to build value-based services around your offerings and increase profit margins. POS systems are being integrated through the cloud not only with peripherals but also payment card services and backend solutions. This disruptive philosophy is reshaping the POS technology space.
- Unified Commerce
Largely driven by millennial shoppers, who expect an in-store experience similar to online shopping, retailers are developing Unified Commerce strategies to serve consumers when, where and how they prefer to complete transactions. Rather than having multiple channels, Unified Commerce streamlines communication to one single software platform, linking existing legacy applications and providing a holistic shopping experience. Unified Commerce connects physical stores, online and mobile app stores, telephone sales and any other transaction methods all in real time. Retailers also are starting to personalize service with promotions tailored to groups and even targeted at individual shoppers. These trends will drive much of the retail industry’s IT investments in the coming year.