Point of Sale technology, also known as POS, really has changed the way the world operates. Of course it originally was designed back in the seventies to provide retailers with better inventory tracking and control, but this technology has literally touched and changed the life of every consumer in the world.
After more than thirty years of use and expansion, it’s tempting to wonder what type of overall effect has occurred in the retail industry as a result of POS technology. One of the first considerations, in approaching this question, is to also understand what type of effect POS has had on the populations who have become accustomed to its use. After all, the retail industry cannot survive without a strong consumer base. Understanding how POS improves a customer’s experience is the most important consideration when viewing how this technology has impacted retail delivery in general.
Most consumers probably don’t even notice how large of an impact POS technology has on their everyday shopping experience. Retailers do not always need to supply personnel in order to help a customer check-out and pay for their items. This saves the customer time as it saves the retailer money. Today’s consumer is extremely concerned about saving as much time as possible and getting through every transaction as quickly as they can is a common goal among many.
One of the biggest benefits for retailers has been the ability to provide a more personalized level of service to their customers. Through POS technology, a grocery store can offer a customer a special savings card that offers deeper discounts every time they shop. By tracking what the customer’s buying history entails, the grocer can automatically offer each shopper a customized set of discount coupons at check-out, in addition to store-wide sales.
Clearly one of the major impacts that POS technology has had on the retail industry is the ability to reduce staff and associated costs. Originally, POS systems were meant to provide better inventory tracking and deliver faster service. Both goals were achieved early on in the history of this technology. Yet there was a continuous drive to make the systems do more and do it faster.
Unfortunately, many retailers on the micro-sized end, simply run to their Costco outlet and purchase POS equipment that never gets a second glance outside of tallying the day’s cash intake. They fail to see that the technology is available, for a few cents more, that could change their life and help them benefit from providing better service, cohesive promotions and more control over inventory and ordering. Many of these retailers aren’t even using their systems for anything more than simple cash to credit balancing.
Clearly the most significant impact on the retail industry has been that Point of Sale technology has allowed retailers to provide a more personalized shopping experience for their customers. The effect of POS on the retail industry is evident in its ability to reduce costs, maintain inventory and provide accuracy in bookkeeping and ordering. But the overall effects are based on the fact that a retailer can service their customers better and faster and that’s what keeps their customers coming back for more!