Major retailers can no longer solely rely on the in-store point-of-sale (POS) terminals for transactions and need to evolve their strategy to offer both online and mobile payment options to customers, a report from IT research firm Informa suggested.
The report said the use of mobile POS terminals can help retailers to serve more customers during busy times and issue paperless receipts to customers’ e-mail addresses, rather than making customers wait in long lines to pay at fixed POS terminals.
In addition, retailers that offer multiple payment options, including a mobile checkout facility, could be able to serve more customers and reduce loss of sales due to shoppers’ reluctance to wait in long lines, especially during the busy holiday shopping season.
"Many retailers have now deployed, or are in the process of deploying, mobile POS terminals," Shailendra Pandey, a senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and author of the report, said in a statement. "Unlike a few years ago, many vendors are now offering mobile POS terminals and support services. These vendors are also offering attractive incentives to merchants and retailers to upgrade their old terminals with new mobile POS systems."
Other alternatives to enable brick-and-mortar retail payments are now also available, including services based on a plug-in card-reader such as Square, mPowa and Ezetap.
Furthermore, mobile POS provider Payleven recently launched a chip-and-PIN POS terminal in Europe--which has been has been certified by both Visa and MasterCard--that links to a smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.
The report used the example of lifestyle brand Alex and Ani, which implemented mobile checkout technology in several of their U.S. stores during last year’s holiday shopping season and witnessed a huge 318 percent increase in sales just from transactions processed by sales associates carrying mobile POS terminals.
Informa estimates that by the end of 2016, over 1 billion mobile subscribers will be remotely buying physical goods and services with their mobile phones every month. Also by 2016, about 1.1 billion users will be actively using mobile local payments in retail stores and on public transportation networks.
"In the longer term, adoption of NFC- and cloud-based mobile payment services could reduce the retailers’ need to have many checkout counters," the report noted. "Shoppers could scan the items they want to buy using their mobile phones and pay for their shopping by simply waving their phone in front of an NFC reader, or by using a cloud-based mobile payment service."