The mobile point of sale (also known as mPOS) system is a game changing concept within the point-of-sale industry that is being rapidly adopted by small and large businesses across the globe. Initially geared towards enabling smaller merchants to process credit card transactions totaling less than $25,000 per year, mPOS were a quick, convenient, and secure option for customers to pay via card reading machines attached to mobile devices joined with payment networks.
Due to its ease of operation, inexpensive start-up fees, and many customer-friendly aspects, mPOS units rapidly gained traction among small business enterprises impressed with the functionality and flexibility of mPOS systems in comparison to their POS counterparts.
In stark contrast to its earliest years on the market, mPOS systems have grown and evolved in a multitude of ways and can be found in businesses of all types and sizes. The functionality of mPOS systems has also grown at an impressive rate; no longer just a piece of equipment receiving credit card payments, mPOS are now readily utilized by companies as a business management tool designed to optimize business activity and customer relations.
Widely respected research conglomerate Smart Insights recently released a report stating that the booming mobile point of sale market (commonly referred to as mPOS) is expected to further grow at a rapid rate well into 2018. Projections estimate that the number of mPOS units will surge to an unprecedented fifty-two million, with a majority of that growth driven by emerging markets.
The relationship between mobile point of sale units and emerging markets is particularly crucial, as business and finance continue to expand globally, the demand for convenient, and efficient payment systems grow concurrently.
An emerging market can be defined in multiple ways. Most commonly described as any country with ten or less mobile point of sale units per one thousand inhabitants, emerging markets are burgeoning locales of economic growth with comparably low mPOS rates due to the relative lack of credit card usage and payments among its citizens and a collective reliance on the use of cash.
As sales of mobile point of sale system units skyrocket across international economies, it becomes readily apparent to pay close attention to the dynamic interplay of mPOS ubiquity and the vast surge in business and enterprise in a global context.
With proper education and awareness, mPOS unit owners can optimize their business activities, using mobile point of sale equipment as a means of market penetration while furthering their position in local and national economies.
The adoption of mPOS in international markets is due in large part to the global consumership making a collective move towards mobile-driven solutions. As concepts such as landlines and wired networking steadily fade in overall use and popularity, new technology such as mobile phones and wireless networking has been readily embraced.
The immense surge in use of wireless and mobile-driven solutions has created a demand for quick, convenient, and secure payment services that are consumer-oriented and advantageous for businesses.
Ultimately harnessing the power of emerging markets to sustain a compelling level of continuous growth, mPOS systems not only satisfy the demands of consumers and business owners but come equipped with a wide array of benefits that not only help optimize profits but also helps business owners strengthen relationships with their customers.
In an international context, it is the emerging markets in Asia that are commanding the most attention for 2018 regarding mPOS activity.
Consider the following data:
The data shown above clearly indicates a comparatively larger stake in international mPOS usage in Asian markets. This phenomenon can be explained by the immense number of retail establishments and small businesses that are volume-transaction oriented. Additionally, smaller merchants existing in the emerging Asian market that inevitably have lower transaction volume and are thus more inclined to use an mPOS unit due to the ability to leverage pay-on-the-go plans rather than signing up for costly fixed rate mPOS plans.
Maximizing affordable mPOS solutions to grow their companies, these small business owners typically are well acclimated with mobile phone technology and are fully capable of learning the relatively simple mPOS mechanisms.
As mPOS technology continues to enable the innumerable smaller merchants in emerging Asian markets, other locales are following suit, with India and Latin America showing a robust increase in mPOS unit sales.
Despite the considerable buzz within the international retail industry surrounding the incredible potential of mPOS and its inherent potential to strengthen business and customer relations. However, due to the enormous growth of online competition, the trends, behavior, and ultimately the expectations of consumers were transformed. As a result of the immense change in consumer expectations, brick and mortar business merchants found themselves at a distinct advantage.
As a result, projections for 2018 forecast a comprehensively large-scale adoption of mobile point of sale units, with the market expected to grow by 24.5 million units by the year 2020. That being said, it is critical to note that only a mere three percent of merchants have adopted mPOS technology to its fullest capabilities.
Analysts had previously forecasted a far greater number and attributed the slow adoption to the challenges presented to many retailers regarding a complete mPOS integration.
Despite mPOS slow rate of adoption in some markets, the overall trend is one of continual growth, with top retailers and major corporations implementing mPOS en masse over the last few years, with many smaller businesses following suit.
To mitigate the slower integration of mPOS in some markets, analysts have compiled a list of the most common issues deterring retailers and business owners from adopting the technology.
Read on below to see some of the most common problems cited by business owners in terms of mPOS integration.
Complex Integration: mPOS systems are integrated with multiple operating gateways and systems that can prove to be confusing and burdensome, especially for smaller businesses.
Notably, the vast majority of retailers are fully capable of accepting payments in-store as well as e-commerce. However, they typically utilize distinct systems for payments made in-store versus those made on the internet. These retailers must add extra infrastructure if they desire their mPOS system to have the capability of accepting in-store-style payments at any juncture during the point-of-interaction.
Not just costly but also extraordinarily time-consuming to maintain, this process often involves further integration with separate vendors. Making matters worse, is the fact that many mPOS systems utilize operating systems different from existing equipment.
To help mitigate the many issues that make mPOS integration arduous, merchants can take advantage of standardized methodologies to construct their specific mPOS solutions on a single platform by using the same means of integration as their fixed counterpart POS systems. The result is increased flexibility for business owners in addition to providing them with an integration process that is less costly, more effective, and far easier to use.
Inadequate Battery Life: mPOS systems with an insufficient amount of battery life can prove to be perilous for businesses that are open extended hours and handle a large volume of sales. Countless retailers and business owners have reported that issues with battery life are among their biggest concerns with their mPOS systems.
Owners of large businesses are particularly concerned with issues pertaining to battery life, as every second of downtime readily equates to lost sales and potential customer dissatisfaction. Further problematizing the issue of lackluster battery life are frustratingly long battery recharges. As a result of these very common concerns, newer mPOS systems are coming readily equipped with robust, long-lasting batteries that require minimal recharging in addition to reducing the number of devices that must be kept on hand.
Achieving a more powerful battery life in mPOS systems can be primarily attributed to similar battery life advancements in devices such as smartphones and laptops. As is the case with smartphones, laptops, and other forms of personal technology, mPOS batteries can now be easily swapped out and quickly replaced, in addition to having docking stations that simultaneously charge multiple devices including the mPOS.
Burdensome Portability: Impractical as it may seem, many POS systems in the past consisted of having to hold a tablet or similar device along with a mobile point of sale terminal. The drawbacks of having to hold multiple devices created arduous experiences regarding the relatively simple tasks of price look-ups, barcode scanning, and even performing transactions.
In contrast, mPOS systems of today are either completely wireless or wired in such a way to become unobstructed and efficient. The new mPOS technology and designs have enabled business owners to provide speedy mobile transactions and checkouts, in addition to optimizing customer service relations.
Also of importance to note are the all-new mPOS carrying cases that house mPOS devices along with mobile devices to ensure easy and rapid access at the ready.
Fears of Hacking and Theft: Mobile point of sale solutions provide business owners with an unparalleled level of freedom to manage financial transactions on site in addition to optimizing customer experiences. Despite this incredible benefit afforded by mPOS technology, many retailers and small business owners remain wary of integrating the technology due to ongoing fears in our society about hacking and theft of devices.
Both mobile devices and mPOS equipment would be visible targets for hacking or theft, with the potential for disastrous results if either were to occur.
In response to the collective fear surrounding hacking and theft, new mPOS devices are constructed with powerful software standards that are ubiquitously seen on in-lane designed terminals. Further, manufacturers have provided important guidelines on how to implement robust security measures to create the highest level of security for the mPOS itself, along with mobile devices.
An example of one of the most popular security features used today amongst retailers are lockable docking stations.
PCI and EMV Compliance: Business owners and retailers concerned about chargebacks and chargeback liability should ensure that their mPOS devices are both EMV and PCI compliant - ensuring that they are meeting each and every industry standard and are kept safe from the liabilities surrounding chargebacks.
Merchants should also ensure that their individual solutions are fully compatible with “point-to-point” encryption so that credit card information and other sensitive data cannot be compromised by hackers.
Aesthetics: 2018 has been a standout year in terms of contemporary and modern designs that are largely composed of sleek, straight lines to provide an elegant and timeless appeal. This design aesthetic has been found in housing, businesses, automobiles, and even technology.
Retailers and business owners very commonly desire equipment that connotes innovation, elegance, and efficiency. In stark contrast to the bulky, cumbersome, and uninspired cash register drawers of years past, mPOS systems tend to be sleekly designed, taking up minimal space and providing maximum efficiency, while remaining attractive to customers.
Far more than just a tool managing financial transactions, many business owners fully expect their mPOS systems to be extensions of their own business and thus desire an assemblage of equipment that is compact, great looking, and full of user benefits.
As mPOS technology becomes increasingly adopted across international markets, their design and appearance concurrently improve, helping business owners streamline their business processes as well as enabling them to deliver exceptional consumer experiences for their valuable customers.