August 10, 2011
Let’s say you’re exceptionally busy, perhaps it’s a Friday with a holiday weekend quickly approaching and you’re the business owner of a boutique-clothing store. Your store is extremely popular and you’re selling the latest and hottest brand of ‘hard to get’ denim jeans and suddenly an employee (usually your best one!) calls in sick with a terrible flu. You’re already down one or two people because of the same influenza outbreak.
This comes on the day you’ve just begun you’re biggest promotion of the year and you’ve got multiple customers milling about and a long impatient line forming at the cash register or point-of-sale. What should be a smashing success could potentially end up as a disaster without the proper handling of paying customers! By making sure that their payments are processed quickly they will leave with a smile on their face!
I recently read about an Old Navy store in Manhattan where a customer made a routine purchase and the transaction was processed on a mobile device. The focus of the article was the emailed receipt and how it was relegating the paper receipt to the rubbish pile along with road maps, newspapers and music CDs.
Although this is new and unique, major retailers such as Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic), Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart have all begun offering electronic versions of receipts, either emailed or uploaded to websites.
There has been a mad scramble on mobile technology by major retailers going on since 2005, when Apple introduced a mobile POS payment system in each of their 200+ retail stores across the country. The system enables each of the blue-shirted Apple employees to act as a walking point-of-sale; there are no lines at a cash register in Apple stores.
Each clerk carries an iPod, encased with an infrared barcode scanning and payment card-swiping device that scans and identifies the product, accepts the payment card-swipe, then captures a signature on the device and enables the receipt to be emailed, texted or printed in real time.
It is widely known by IT professionals that a mobile POS payment system will increase sales by speeding up check outs and performing ‘line-busting’ at impatient customer check out lines. What might not be such commonplace knowledge is that the time and resources of mainstream retailers may not be needed to replicate Apple’s success.
Time consuming investigations and studies might no longer be necessary to ascertain how to implement the strategy. ABC Mobile Pay has developed an ‘out of the box’ robust mobile POS payment solution that can be customized for added value.
Nordstrom introduced mobile payment acceptance devices in many of their stores this year so roving sales clerks could check out customers on the spot. Nordstrom has seen the opportunity to create a better experience for the customer wherever they are in the store. Say a customer is in a dressing room and they try on a bunch of clothing and they say, ‘I want to buy this and that.’
Instead of having to gather everything up from the dressing room, wrap all of it up at the wrap desk and trudge over to a cash register and stand in line behind other waiting customers, they quickly check out on mobile devices wherever they are on site.
Armed with information obtained from the CRM database such as email addresses and birthdates, special promotional offers can increase revenue significantly by enabling focused marketing efforts, from birthday percentage discount offers to coupons on favorite or best selling items.
The web based administrative system means that all sales traffic from any location can be monitored in real time. The system has features such as inventory control and product look up and availability which saves sales clerks precious time ensuring the customer experience is exemplary.
Rick Berry is Owner/President of ABC Mobile Pay, a registered ISO/MSP. ABC Mobile Pay provides merchant accounts to businesses of all kinds and sizes.