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A Retailer’s Checklist: Considerations for Successful mPOS Adoption

With increased expectations that store employees will have access to mobile POS from both customers and employees themselves, retailers are rushing to invest in mPOS technologies. In fact, recent research from IHL found that 57% of Tier I retailers, with sales over $1 billion annually, are planning to make a new mPOS decision in 2024, with rollouts later in 2024 and through 2026.

As you look to incorporate mPOS into your stores, here are eight things to consider for successful and sustained adoption.

  1. The Why — While it is tempting to define “why” based on driving sales alone, it’s important to broaden the view to address customer behavior and associate engagement goals. Defining the why is not the same as defining the use cases. “Why” focuses much more on customer expectations, employee satisfaction, and even a tie-in to the brand value proposition, which can range from convenience to high-touch assisted experiences. Once you have a clear reason as to why an mPOS solution is being deployed, make sure that reason is clearly communicated across all your stores to all employees as well as corporate staff.
  2. Device Type — Start by considering the sales associate. How easy will the device be to carry? Where will the device be docked? How long will it hold a charge? Does the sales associate need to see large amounts of data on the device or type in a lot of things on a keyboard of some kind? What types of payments will it take? These are just a few of the questions to consider when selecting the type of device. Be sure to run in-store tests of different device types before deciding, and be sure to solicit associate feedback. This should include consideration of ergonomics as well, including answering how the store associates will hold the device. Will they have a sling bag or a strap to carry the device when they’re not using it? Will they need to access the cash wrap for a printer and cash drawer, or will these be placed strategically around the store for easy access?
  3. Use Cases — Define which use cases or customer interactions will be handled by mPOS devices. For instance, you may want to use mobile devices for sales transactions but not returns. Or you may want to make a device available exclusively for returns during high return times (like after a holiday). You may only want mobile devices for line busting. Or you may want to use mobile devices for increased customer engagement, such as looking up a customer’s purchase history and wish lists. It’s important to have some ideas to start with — customer or employee pain points that you want to address — but it’s also important to be open to employee ideas on how to make use of devices. Encourage experimentation and creativity and be prepared to act quickly to acknowledge and spread good ideas. This will support sustained adoption.
  4. In-Store Logistics — How easy is it to use an mPOS device when a sales associate is engaged with a customer? Will there be specific areas where mobile will most often be deployed, like at the entrance of the store for returns or in high-traffic areas? Will store associates have mobile stations for bagging up purchases? What impact will these capabilities have on loss prevention and security? These (and other) questions are important to consider. Ensure your logistical processes are those that make the shopper and associate interactions as natural as possible.
  5. Operational Expectations — Be clear about expectations. For instance, it is important that devices are always charged. So, when they’re not in use, they should be charging, especially when associates leave the store at night. As part of the store opening procedure, the device should be booted up, the app should be activated, and the opening associate should sign on to the device. If a cash drawer is used, someone should be designated to insert a till. Mobile device management (MDM) should be included as a regular part of both store opening and store closing procedures. And when patterns or trends emerge from MDM, like a declining number of devices charging overnight or decreasing battery life, early intervention is key. If associates can’t rely on the devices, they won’t use them.
  6. Set Goals — Goals make it clear to associates that there is an expectation that mPOS devices will be used. Set goals that are attainable and easy to track. Also, be sure to investigate when goals are not being met. Rapid intervention is crucial for maintaining credibility that mobile strategy is a priority. Also, assure store associates that challenges to achieving these goals will be listened to and resolved.
  7. Report Results — If this is an important corporate initiative, be sure to treat it like one. Report on mPOS metrics on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, and make sure everyone knows the results. If mobile device usage is linked to another success metric, such as an increase in traffic conversion rates, then include both metrics in the same report.
  8. Pilot, Learning and Adjustment — Once they’ve reached the pilot stage, many retailers want to roll out quickly, which is understandable. However, the pilot is one of your best opportunities to learn and make adjustments. If issues come up during the pilot phase, give your team time to solve them before going to the full rollout. Remember, issues may not be software or hardware related; they could instead be operational or logistical. Listen to your store associates to ensure your rollout is successful.

Done right, mPOS technology can be a Swiss Army knife of capabilities that can offer a wide range of benefits, ranging from happier customers and empowered associates to increased sales.

If you’re looking to add mPOS to your retail stores, reach out to Aptos for insights on best practices and to see a demo of our mPOS capabilities.