What is MPOS?

Shop worker scanning tag with mobile device

MPOS stands for Mobile Point of Sale and the technology can be used to increases sales and service quality across a range of industries.

While the mobile computer alone can provide many different functions to streamline business processes, adding a mobile payment reader can enable anytime, anywhere payment processing with any type of card — including debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards as well as NFC.

The MPOS consists of a handheld mobile computer that can connect to your wireless LAN, a standalone or snap-on payment transaction reader and if on-the-spot printing is required, a compact mobile Bluetooth-enabled printer that can be easily worn on a belt.

Service is the foundation of your business. A retailer can slash prices. A restaurant can roll out nightly specials. A stadium can offer coupons for a free beverage at a sporting event. But at the end of the day, the in-store and in-restaurant customer experience trumps all, where long queues and poor service can quickly sour even the most loyal customer relationship. And one function that is crucial to the customer experience is your last point of contact during any purchase — your point of sale (POS).

The last thing your customers do before they leave your establishment is to pay for their purchases. The payment process is the last chance you have during a particular visit to leave a good impression, the last chance you have to impact the customer experience. While controlling service levels at the POS is crucial, wired point of sale (POS) stations become chokepoints through which all customer payments are funneled — regardless of whether your customers are standing in line at a retail store or amusement park or whether a server in a restaurant is waiting to make payment for the customer. As customer traffic ebbs and flows, so do the queues at the POS. During peak hours, customers are subjected to long queues and long wait times.

Today’s mobile technology lets your business shed the wires of the traditional checkout stand and accept customer payments wherever and whenever needed.

No longer limited to a fixed register, the mobile POS allows you to offer your customers brand new conveniences that improve the quality and speed of service. Now, payment can be completed anywhere, with virtually any card. Retailers can process payments on the sales floor, in the parking lot or on a sidewalk on a rainy or cold day, at a kiosk in the middle of a mall and more. Restaurants can process payments right at the customer’s table. And event venues can allow patrons in seats to purchase food and drinks via credit and debit cards.

How does MPOS work?

A mobile POS solution consists of a handheld mobile computer with a payment card reader and a compact and lightweight portable printer. Employees simply swipe whatever cards are required to complete the purchase — including magnetic stripe and Chip and PIN-based credit, debit, gift and loyalty cards. The customer’s card information is encrypted and sent over the wireless LAN (WLAN) or wireless WAN (WWAN) for instant processing and authorization. Once the charge has been authorized, the customer either signs on the screen of the mobile computer, or enters their PIN on the pin keypad to complete the transaction. Employees can then print out a final receipt for the customer, right on the spot. And for added convenience, employees can even offer to email a copy of the receipt to the customer. And flexible MPOS technology can either replace the traditional wired checkout stand, supplement wired POS stations, or both.

MPOS in the Retail Store

MPOS technology can be implemented in the retail store in several different ways:

The creation of the ‘full service associate’

With MPOS, a retailer can replace the wired POS, freeing your associates to cater to the needs of your customers from the moment they enter your store to the moment they leave — true ‘service with a difference’.

While most merchants have traditional cash registers to accommodate customers who wish to pay by cash or check, all merchants have found that MPOS technology delivers significant benefits — from the elimination of the high cost of wired cash wraps to the prevention of abandoned sales during busy times, a better customer experience and increased loyalty. With a mobile computer, associates can ring up the sale right at the point of decision as well as check pricing and inventory, request delivery of an item that is in the backroom, locate and reserve an out-of-stock item in another store location, up sell additional items and accessories, or even place an order for next-day delivery from the store website. Service is faster than ever before and the opportunity for a lost sale is minimized.

Queue busting to reduce wait times at the wired POS

During busy times, employees can jump in and complete sales right on the spot, with powerful line busting capabilities that prevent long wait times to pay for merchandise — and opportunities to abandon purchases.

The MPOS solution can be used to queue bust in two ways. Since the MPOS provides a complete payment station, you can open as many additional POS stations throughout the store as needed to eliminate long queues.

Alternatively, associates can use the same mobile computer to scan the items in shoppers’ baskets while they are in line. Once scanning is completed, the associate prints a preliminary receipt with a single bar code that is given to the customer. Once the customer reaches the register, they are only one step away from completing their purchase. Cashiers can simply scan the bar code on the preliminary receipt to automatically enter the entire itemized list of items into the register and present the total due to the customer. The transaction is completed and customers are on their way in just moments.

The many benefits of MPOS in retail

MPOS provides many benefits, allowing retailers to:

Deliver more personalized service.

Since your associates can now provide your customers with true on-the-spot end-to-end service, shopping in your store couldn’t be easier or faster. There is no shuffling of customers from salesperson to cashier. Your associates have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers that improve customer loyalty. And the improved personalized service becomes part of your brand, providing a real competitive advantage.

Improve customer convenience: any card... anywhere.

Some customers prefer credit cards while others want to use their debit card. Some will present their loyalty cards to receive discounts or points for their purchase.

Others may be paying for their purchases with gift cards. With MPOS, your customers have the freedom and flexibility to use whatever card or payment method they wish, anywhere in your store — including contactless NFC payments made via their mobile phones.

Eliminate wait times at checkout.

When all your POS lanes are open and wait times are still unacceptable, associates with mobile computers can be dispatched to set up as many virtual POS stations as needed, anywhere in the store. Long queues never frustrate your customers. They’re in and out as quickly as possible, and on to the rest of their busy day.

Increase sales.

While customers are on their way to the POS, they have the opportunity to abandon the sale. They may change their mind, decide to look for better pricing or find a long checkout line daunting. When associates can process payment right at the ‘point of decision’, the opportunity to lose the sale during the trip to the checkout lane is eliminated. In addition, queue busting with MPOS can also help increase sales. As customers discover that there is never a long wait in your store, they will no longer think twice about stopping in during peak shopping times for fear that the queues might be too long. Shoppers no longer turn around within seconds of entering your store when they spot long checkout queues. Shoppers are less likely to abandon their shopping basket because they simply don’t have the time or patience to keep waiting in line. In addition to increasing sales, the ‘no-wait’ checkout line becomes a part of your brand, a differentiator that sets you apart from the competition

Modify your store layout easily and cost-effectively.

In the fast moving world of retail, trends are always changing — trends that can impact how you want to design and lay out your store. Moving wired POS stations is expensive — these stations are typically considered permanent fixtures. Since the MPOS is wireless, there is no need to move network cabling or power outlets. Retailers are free to redesign the sales floor whenever it will best serve the business, able to easily move displays, add new displays, give the store a face-lift or reconfigure traffic patterns during holidays to improve sales and the customer experience.

Maximize the value of every inch of your sales floor.

Every retailer’s goal is to increase regular clientele. But to accommodate major increases without creating long queues at the POS, you’ll likely need more POS locations. An MPOS solution allows you to dynamically add however many POS stations you need, when you need them — without reducing the available floor space for inventory or promotional displays. The MPOS is rugged enough to be used outdoors in bad weather to further increase productivity as well as sales and customer service levels. For example, in an outdoor lot, an associate can help a customer choose a Christmas tree, ring up the purchase right on the spot and load the tree onto the car. And if you choose to replace all your wired POS with MPOS stations, you no longer need to allocate floor space for dedicated cash wraps. Instead you gain more merchandizing areas to help increase sales — without leasing additional square footage or your rent.

Reduce the cost per POS.

An MPOS is much more cost-effective than the traditional POS. There are no registers or checkout stand fixtures to purchase, nor are wiring or outlet installation required. Space previously utilized for wired POS stations expands the available sales floor space, helping increase the merchandise mix and your sales. In addition, unlike the wired POS wrap station, spare units are more affordable, easily stocked in the back room. Now, a malfunctioning ‘pay point’ no longer requires you to re-direct customers to another register or a different area of the store to pay for purchases. Employees can simply retrieve a working unit from the back room and the ‘pay point’ is back in service in just a minute or two.

Increase safety.

In big box home improvement stores, customers with large carts of items such as drywall, lumber and pre-hung doors can create a backup at the POS. As carts laden with large items back up into the aisles of your store, other customers are forced to navigate around them, creating potential safety issues. With an MPOS in hand, associates can divert customers with large carts to an area where they can be safely rung up on the spot, creating a safer store environment while minimizing POS queues.

MPOS in the Restaurant

When restaurants put an MPOS in the hands of servers, all those trips to the POS are eliminated, giving servers more time to focus on what really matters...their customers. Servers no longer need to travel to the POS and wait in line to place orders for drinks, appetizers, meals and desserts, or to complete payment at the end of a meal. And in addition, servers can use the wireless handheld computer to access a wealth of information, from real-time menu changes, to ingredient information, prompts that help ensure every order is complete, as well as the answer to many questions that previously required a time-consuming trip to the kitchen — such as whether a dish is gluten-free or contains nuts.

The many benefits of MPOS in the restaurant. MPOS technology allows restaurateurs to:

Protect service quality: ensure the last impression is a good impression.

Customers may have enjoyed a wonderful meal with great service, but if they have to wait a long time for payment to be completed, their last impression will have a negative impact on the overall customer experience. With an MPOS in the hands of your servers, there is never a wait. Customers simply present their credit or gift card to the server, who hen processes payment on the spot, without ever  leaving the table. Servers can even swipe loyalty  cards to record purchases for discounts or points. And since the integrated keypad in MPOS devices allows patrons to enter a PIN right at the table, your customers can use debit cards to pay for purchases, providing more payment options.

Improve credit card security.

With mobile payment processing at the table, diners have the peace of mind that comes from never losing sight of their credit cards. Credit card skimming is no longer possible. The card can’t inadvertently be charged twice. And a diner’s card won’t accidentally end up in the hands of another guest.

Increase server productivity.

By eliminating all the trips to the POS, server productivity is increased.

The same number of servers can now provide better service to more tables, helping contain staffing costs without impacting service quality. And at the same time, servers can make more tips, increasing job satisfaction and reducing turnover.

Increase sales

Since the overall process of serving tables simply takes less time, service is faster, enabling more table turns in fast turnover environments. In addition, as orders are entered into the handheld mobile computer, you can present servers with complementary items to suggest. You can serve more customers, and the average check size is increased.

Increasing Sales at Event Venues with MPOS

Sports fans have long needed to bring ample cash along to watch their favorite team play — cash to pay the parking attendant and buy beer and peanuts at their seat. However, this stadium implemented a mobile POS solution, giving fans the added convenience to use debit and credit cards to increase seat-side sales. Now, purchases can be made anywhere in the park — even in less-than-favorable weather conditions. And kiosks selling ice cream, popcorn, drinks or souvenirs can be positioned and even moved during the game to help maximize sales.

Benefits of MPOS

In a world that grows more mobile every day, the MPOS solution is a natural evolution for POS technology. With mobility, you can break free from the wires that limit the traditional POS, allowing you to enable all or part of the transaction process wherever needed to improve and preserve service quality — from complete payment processing to pre-scanning items in the baskets of shoppers in line.

MPOS also offers another value — unlike the POS, it is not a point solution. The handheld mobile computer that is at the heart of the MPOS is a multi-function device that can serve many purposes. In addition to allowing employees to ring up purchases and access sales-related information, that same device can be utilized after hours to take inventory, conduct shelf audits, execute markups and markdowns, reconcile and process incoming shipments, alter electronic signage and even enable two-way push-to-talk (PTT) communications between workers with other Zebra mobile devices. The number of devices you need to purchase and manage is reduced. The number of devices your workers need to carry and manage is reduced. And you get a single device you can put to work every minute of the business day — an investment with a rapid return.

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