In the past year, mobile point of sale (POS) has been gaining a great deal of attention. It certainly appeals to many retailers’ intuition that mobile POS provides the opportunity for a better customer experience and increased sales by eliminating or reducing wait time at checkout. But how do we know that's true?
A recent report by IHL Group, Mobile POS: Hype to Reality, notes that only 28% of those surveyed, plan to adopt mobile POS by the end of 2013 and 33% of retailers have no plans to implement mobile POS within the next three years. Yet, some retailers are already reaping the benefits of mobile POS. Alex and Ani implemented iPod Touches at checkout and saw a 318% increase in sales!
But there are still so many operational unknowns. As retailers add mobile POS to their stores, it's critical to measure and understand the answers to questions I recently posed in an article found on Retail Online Integration, Is There a Downside to Mobile POS?. These questions include:
- Queue Time: Is mobile POS reducing average queue time? If so, by how much? How does the time reduction spread across the day, week, and in space across the store's floor plan? How does this compare to other ways retailers could spend employee hours or capital expense?
- When, Where, and How: When are the right hours to offer mobile POS, and how many devices should you offer? Where in the store are mobile POS purchases taking place? How does this compare to shopper traffic patterns in-store?
- Impact on Sales: How do purchasing patterns change between mobile POS devices and fixed registers? Are KPIs consistent? Are impulse purchases or upsell opportunities negatively affected by mobile checkout, and what's the impact on sales, margin and profitability?
This last question is absolutely crucial and one that hasn't been thoroughly tested yet. According to a recent survey by Hanover Research, 52% of millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation. In contrast, eight out of 10 baby boomers’ purchases were driven by practical decisions.
In this age of “shop in the moment,” is it really time to remove checkout aisles with potential last-minute purchase opportunities? Savvy retailers will test and measure this important new source of data and strive to understand the effect of mobile POS on their business.