Small to mid-sized businesses depend on that heavy-traffic, high-profit period between late October and the end of December when consumers do their holiday shopping. With so much on the line, it is in your best interests as a business owner to carefully plan ahead. When making those intentional plans, make sure to recognize the power that integrating a mobile card reader into your business can have on the success of your holiday shopping season.
Mobile technology has reframed the standard point of sale (POS) system.
To read and process payments made with credit cards, businesses have long used terminals that register the customer’s payment information and send it on to the other actors in the process for authentication, verification, and acceptance. More recently, the “dumb” terminals of the past have been replaced with multi-functional POS solutions that perform numerous additional business-related tasks as well. Current mobile card readers go a step further, marrying the security and versatility of their predecessors to unprecedented portability and flexibility. As you will see, the results can truly be a game-changer for your retail operation.
What is mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology and how does it work?
mPOS systems are so revolutionary even money-conscious business owners are investing in this innovation even during the most difficult of times. In short, a mobile POS brings portability, security, and simplicity to stores of all sizes easily and affordably.
With a mobile POS at your fingertips, any tablet or smartphone can be effortlessly transformed into a cash register that you can use to accept customers’ credit and debit card payments. Setting up the system involves nothing more than an internet connection, a mobile POS platform, and a device on which to run it.
Although your mobile card reader and the software behind it are small and easy to take anywhere, the system comes jam-packed with powerful features that can boost your sales and improve customer service without ever sacrificing efficiency or security. These features include the following:
- Affordable transaction fees. (Because some of these charges are negotiable, be sure you do your research to find the option that best meets your needs at a reasonable price.)
- Backs up all data in the cloud. Should a natural disaster or security breach strike your physical store, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your precious customer and employee details are securely stored off-site.
- Accepts multiple types of payments. These should include the now commonly used EMV chip cards as well as contactless near-field communication (NFC) transactions.
- An interface that is easy for your employees to learn and use.
- Can still operate offline in the event of an interruption of your internet connection. If your system possesses this capability, you can continue to take care of vital tasks like honoring discounts, accepting coupons, accepting cash payments, changing open orders, and processing refunds.
- Plays nicely with your existing operating system and any accounting or customer relations software you have already invested in.
- Is capable of performing the tasks that are necessary for your particular industry. For example, you will want to make sure your mobile system comes equipped with order-taking capabilities if you own a restaurant.
As you browse your many mPOS options, keep in mind that the product you ultimately choose should be dependent upon the type and size of business you run and the speed of your operations. Regardless of which specific model you choose, however, all of them work in the same general way.
What happens during a mobile payment?
Although mobile payments involve any financial transaction made using a mobile device, there are many different types. The most common are NFC (contactless) and mobile wallet, but QR code, and mobile-to-mobile are also popular.
Frequently, customers use a mobile wallet on their smartphone to securely store payment details. This information is then accessed during the purchase process and communicated to the merchant’s mobile card reader through the use of NFC technology.
When both the customer’s phone and the merchant’s reader are equipped with an NFC chip, information can be transmitted simply by bringing the devices two inches or less from each other. Within seconds, the buyer’s identity is verified, the account is checked for sufficient funds, and an acceptance or declination of payment is sent. Throughout this speedy process, details are masked from hackers through the use of tokenization, which changes credit card numbers into a random, single-use series of digits.
How a mobile card reader can amp up your sales and please your customers during the holidays.
Once you bring this blazingly efficient piece of technology into your operations, you will wonder how you ever did without it. That frenetic time during late autumn and early winter will provide you with an opportunity to see where your mobile system truly shines.
For openers, think about the advantages that its portability will bring. Instead of trying to handle the logistics and frustration of tedious checkout lines, sales associates can carry smartphones or tablets equipped with mobile readers to various locations throughout your store, including right where the products are featured. This capability enables you to do even more than take payments from anywhere. Your staff can even bring up product information to answer questions, suggest options, or process returns. In the end, this flexibility will lead to a more individualized, customer-centered experience that can also serve to increase sales and broaden the scope of the items that customers choose.
Portability extends far beyond the walls of your physical store. Now that your readers have gone wireless, you can offer curbside pickup and even accept customers’ credit cards at their own doorsteps. During the holiday rush, you might decide to take your wares to a popup store, a prospect made simple when you have your portable mobile card reader at hand.
Providing stellar customer service involves much more than selling goods and services. In order to take your business to the next level, particularly during the busy holiday rush, you’ll need to find ways to create a highly personalized and holistic shopping experience that customers will remember long after Christmas is over.
Your mPOS system has all the tools and connectivity you need to make that happen. Because it works seamlessly with your other systems and software, you can incentivize customers with targeted discounts, loyalty points, and coupons that will not only keep them coming back but will also encourage them to refer friends and family. In short, your mobile solution can function in tandem with your other technology to provide a one-of-a-kind buying experience even during the busiest of shopping seasons.
In this highly competitive commercial environment, you cannot afford to let your rivals get the upper hand. Incorporating a cutting-edge mobile POS solution into your day-to-day operations can make you more efficient and secure as you continue to provide buyers with the gold standard of customer care and product information. Don’t let another holiday season go by without investing in mobile POS technology. It’s the gift that will keep on giving to your small to mid-sized business.