Going Beyond Unified Commerce

RIS News – Say the term point of sale, and a fixed terminal mounted in a dedicated cash wrap station likely comes to mind. But POS is rapidly transforming in both its role and look. POS is now a key facilitator of the brand experience, one that is specific to each customer and each shopping occasion. That’s challenging retailers to take a greenfield approach to their next POS deployment.

As part of that recasting, retailers are replacing POS-specific applications with unified commerce platforms. It is a monumental shift, but it’s not the only challenge retailers face as they revamp their points of sale.

Just 28% of retailers are up to date with POS technology, and the average POS system is 6.7 years old, according to RIS News’ “13th Annual Store Systems Study” and EKN Research’s “Retail Point-of-Sale Blueprint.” Old hardware is restraining adoption of unified commerce, due to limitations in access to data, processor speed and storage.

As they scope out their next POS, many retailers are rethinking the form factor to suit new roles. POS now takes the form of self-checkout, mobile devices, kiosks, scan as you go, fixed/mobile hybrids and click-and-collect stations in addition to numerous variations on traditional fixed cashwrap solutions.

“The biggest decision factor retailers are struggling with is finalizing their holistic customer experience vision and customer engagement model,” said Brian Bunk, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “This is the starting point to drive POS and in-store form factors. We think most retailers will continue with a hybrid approach that focuses on the greatest flexibility and support of robust and dynamic customer engagement.”

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