Evolution Of Point Of Sale Systems

By Kavitha Siddada, Head of Retail IT Platforms - Competence Center Manager at Shell

devices has evolved over decades from being a simple cash regis­ter to a digital bingo box that predicts and sees what the customer need is and helps give a personal buying experience, as a self service. Let us see how the changing trends in technology and customer journey in the digital world are positioning the PoS to define the customer experi­ence to be at the heart of digital 4.0 customer evolution.

As the next generation PoS system evolves to fit into the digital echo system, three important dimensions are driving the right technology choices: the consumer of PoS, the retailer digital customer strategy and the customer themselves, and the market standardization and varying industry norms.

The Digital Strategy and Customer
The digital customer strategy is driving the evolution of the PoS systems to be at the heart of the customer connect in retailing. The infrastructure choices and integration into the cloud or back office/ home office systems is driven by the need have a seam­less customer experience. Omni channel customer expe­rience is driving the integration layer architecture, API driven lean services, residing on the PoS. Some exam­ples are the scan and go mobile solutions, self checkouts, and interactive self servicing kiosks. The customer be­havior is mandating mobile PoS applications and digital payment gateway integrations into the traditional PoS systems to give a seamless experience. Integrating with various loyalty programs to attract and retain the cus­tomer is driving the need to have a real-time response at the POS to connect with the cloud powered AI models to upsell to a customer in that instance with huge data-driven solutions.

"Varying norms like customer data privacy, data sensitization, data security, compliance drive the choices for technology and controls that needs be built into PoS systems"

Market Standardization
Market standards and retail industry standards have become the norm in each local mar­ket and mandating the need for more local solutions than global standards in PoS systems. Managing the revo­lutionary markets which are rapid­ly adapting to latest tech trends are redefining the PoS landscape. The generation 1 self checkouts have evolved to next-generation intel­ligent self checkouts for unmanned retail sites like BingoBox which could identify the customer to access the en­try and exit and complete the transaction with a system reliability and minimal fraud.

Varying norms like customer data privacy, data sen­sitization, data security, compliance drive the choices for technology and controls that needs be built into PoS systems. The retail industry norms and the diverse needs in the retail industry from selling general mer­chandise to perishable goods to fuels to apparel define the various features within the PoS systems. The busi­ness models of retailers from being a mom and pop store to being large chain retailers also mandate audit controls and robustness of the PoS systems based on operational reliability, brand value correlated to loss of business if there is a system glitch. The country norms define the taxation, nota fiscal and data privacy needs which are built into the controls of the PoS systems.

Technology evolution with Cloud powered, big data, Analytics, AI and ML, mobility, security norms, GDPR, digital integration and standardisation are driving the technology choices for PoS to be an intelligent lean sys­tem, while the retailer business choices of tapping into the digital savvy customer pool, having the seamless cus­tomer experience with infliction of Omni channel and loyalty programs demand an integration layer with quick response times, protecting the customer data, PCI com­pliance, taxation and local market needs. Security chal­lenges with GDPR and move to mobile devices for POS on iOS, Android and windows platforms needs to a be focus area.

Need for Balance
The conflicting dilemmas effecting the standardisation of PoS now need to be balanced with a pragmatic ap­proach to evolve into a reliable, scalable, secure, compli­ant, cost effective, fit for purpose PoS systems that are feature rich, agile and mobile with ease of use. While the pace of change and transformation for the new tech­nologies is rapid, it needs to be watched how the legacy to new system transformation will adapt and how we optimize on the cost of change and change management itself.

The next generation PoS systems evolution to enable and embrace the changing needs of the customer and technology is being tested. Will PoS systems leverage blockchain technology to generate distributed ledgers for the customer history and predict customer buying patterns in a lean way and the future PoS systems, needs to be invested in!

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