Magazine Article | February 15, 2007

The New POS

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

The POS is the point of customer interaction. Don’t squander an opportunity to gain insight.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, March 2007

A changing retail landscape has enabled the traditional, transaction-based POS to become a much more glorified store entity. Retailers are wise to embrace the change to the POS for its positive impact on retailer and customer alike.

The move from a transaction-centric to a customer-centric POS philosophy is predicated by the need for technology and people to collectively gather better information on customers. This information helps retailers understand and service customers and, ultimately, more accurately measure the value of each individual customer. The POS is the best place in the brick-and-mortar world to gather this information.

Information gathering aside, the modern POS creates and delivers value by facilitating customer interaction. You shouldn't be satisfied with a machine-enabled associate who simply processes transactions. Use the POS experience as a facilitator of customer communication, building on the hardware and associate investment.

If you view your POS as little more than a transaction-enabler, you're letting a chance to build and deploy more strategic CRM (customer relationship management) initiatives pass you by. The promise of modern BI (business intelligence) tools is data dependent, and the POS is the fountainhead of retail data generation.

POS Investments: Not The Cost Of Doing Business
Most retailers are heavily dependent on their brands as business drivers. Brands help keep and service existing customers and play a key role in the acquisition of new customers. You expect your brand to perform for you in terms of short- and long-term return. The POS is a brand touchpoint, crucial to its health. But most retailers have no expectation of the POS as a place where customer value is delivered.

Meanwhile, you accept that not all of your customers are profitable, and not every in-store interaction will result in revenue. Because not all customers are valuable to an organization, they must be evaluated based on their past, present, and future buying habits. Chances are, though, the interactions that happen at the POS will result in revenue. Your POS associates have the benefit of inherent interaction with your best traffic. On this foundation, you can begin changing your perspective of the POS from cost of doing business to profit center. Implementing a new take on POS customer interaction takes the right technology and skilled personnel.

Brand-conscious retailers invest in their image but often overlook the value of customer interaction.  The POS is the nucleus of brick-and-mortar CRM. By reevaluating your POS approach, you can deploy customer-centric initiatives that turn customer relationships into revenue.