BrainTrust Query: “Traditional POS is Dead”
Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current article from Insight-Driven
Traditional POS is dead! — I’ve heard that one
before. The arrival of mobile POS promises to reduce long checkout lines,
shrink the cost of funding of elaborate checkout counters, and free up both
retail space and employees’ time.
I’ll grant that in some situations for some
retailers there might be an opportunity to ditch the traditional POS, but for
the majority of retailers that’s just not practical. Take it from a guy that
had to wake up at 3 a.m. after every Thanksgiving to monitor POS systems across
the U.S. on Black Friday. If a retailer’s website goes down on Black Friday,
they will take a significant hit. If a retailer’s chainwide POS system goes
down on Black Friday, that retailer will cease to exist.
Mobile POS works great
for Apple because the majority of purchases are one or two big-ticket items
that don’t involve cash. There’s still a traditional POS in every store to
fall back on (it’s just hidden).
Try this at home: Choose your favorite e-commerce
site and add an item to the cart while timing how long it takes. Now multiply
that by 15 to represent the 15 items you might buy at a store like Target.
The user interface isn’t optimized for bulk purchases, and that’s how it should
be. The web-store and POS are designed for different purposes.
is a great addition to POS and so is mobile checkout. But they add capabilities
to POS, they don’t replace it. Centralized architectures, even those based
in the cloud, are quite viable as long as there’s resiliency in the registers.
You cannot assume perfect access to the network, so a POS must always be able
to sell regardless of connectivity.
Clearly the different selling channels should
be sharing common functionality. Things like calculating tax, accepting coupons,
and processing electronic payments can be shared, usually through a service-oriented
architecture. This lowers costs and providers greater consistency, both of
which help retailers.
On paper, these technologies look really good and we should
continue to push boundaries, but I’m not ready to call the patient dead just
Discussion Questions: What’s the likelihood that mobile POS will eventually lead to a significant reduction in traditional full-service checkouts? Do you see complications/hurdles in rolling out mobile POS? What benefits may full-service checkouts provide over mobile POS?