Small businesses are no longer chained to their front counters to process customer transactions. While big, bulky terminals are still common, mobile credit-card readers that attach to smartphones and tablets are increasingly replacing old-school terminals on store countertops. It’s changing the look and experience of point-of-sale (POS) transactions and making it possible for businesses on the move to accept credit and debit cards. It’s not just painters, plumbers, and food trucks poised to benefit, however. Here are four ways any business can take advantage of this technology to boost sales and customer satisfaction.
1. Accept credit cards from anywhere
“Most small businesses that are inherently mobile and transient in nature benefit from a mobile POS system — pop-up stores, vendors at fairs, food trucks, carpenters, exterminators, as well as other local service providers,” says Ryan Himmel, CPA, and CEO of BIDaWIZ. Basically, any company that doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar presence could not process credit card transactions without mobile technologies.
That would mean a loss of revenue for mobile vendors like Bentos Mochi and Delectables, a two-year-old family business that sells confections at Oahu farmer’s markets. Owner Kui Bento relies on a mobile POS system to accept credit cards, and touts its convenience. “It doesn’t require a generator, keeps track of inventory, and provides a daily sales report,” says Bento. “It’s a lot more portable than a standalone terminal. I never leave home without my smart phone, so my ‘cash register’ is always with me.”
2. Participate in seasonal fairs and festivals
Small businesses with physical stores are using mobile POS systems as an extension of their traditional terminals. Ohana Daze, which sells baby products, uses a mobile POS system separate from its main system when attending festivals and fairs. Owner Scott Miyagi says, “When we are doing shows outside of the store, having a mobile credit-card system helps us a lot. We used to do manual imprinting and do it old school, [but] someone had to sit and key in all those numbers after the shows. It was a lot of work. While the majority of our focus is at the store, there are times [when] we participate in promotional fairs and craft fairs to show off new products or build brand awareness.”
3. Thwart busy queues
Small businesses that are stationary may not consider mobile POS systems. But perhaps they should. Sixty-five percent of retailers surveyed by the Aberdeen Group said they have identified mobile POS as one of the key ways to help with line busting and decreasing customer service wait times.
Mobile technologies like those used in big-box stores and markets help alleviate long lines that could potentially prompt impatient customers to leave before making a purchase.
“In fact, many brick-and-mortar businesses with significant foot traffic and square footage can reap massive benefits by incorporating mobile POS in their sales process,” says Himmel. “Many local retailers, grocery stores, and other small businesses can enhance the customer experience by offering mobile POS access points in various aisles of their store.”
4. Learn about your customers
“Not only will customers be able to pay quicker and save time, but these businesses will learn valuable information about the products and location of those products that perform well or do not with mobile POS,” says Himmel. Since most systems keep track of inventory and sales, he says small businesses can use the information to determine peak sales times and identify popular products. This, he says, can be used in “future marketing campaigns to that specific customer to provide a more personalized experience. It’s also possible that small businesses can utilize customer data capture through mobile POS for larger-scale strategic initiatives with their customers.”