Although much of the latest innovation is taking place online, there has been plenty of leaps forward in offline tech. Specifically, systems which streamline and improve the offline experience.
Square, founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, has gone from strength to strength through developing its point-of-sale technology. PayPal soon followed, and now, Amazon is attempting to get in on the same game.
The tech, which Amazon calls “Local Register”, is designed specifically for merchants with Amazon taking a cut of the sale. With most of the company’s operations completely online, this is a way for the business to get a cut of a huge environment which it doesn’t yet have any stake in.
Of course, the payment solution provides a solid challenge for Square and PayPal, and highlights the need for retailers to think differently about the way in which their POS are used in-store. But it also highlights a structural transformation in retail most organisations are yet to comprehend.
The retail store forms part of an overarching strategy, which covers multiple channels. Old metrics don’t apply when most customres view retail operations as showcase locations – a place where they may go to look but ultimately will rarely buy products.
Given this context, new POS technology is not meant to simply innovate the buying process but rather free staff from the structured role of manning a cash register. This becomes increasingly important as staff are no longer seen as a means of buying stock but as experts and part of the buying process itself, with intimate knowledge about the products customers are buying.
Being able to provide advice, customised solutions and other information is more easily possible when staff are freed from the rigid structure of an old-fashioned cash system. Portable POS platforms enable the future of retail staffing to reach its potential.
While Amazon is using the POS as a play to enter the offline retail world, businesses need to keep the broader picture in mind – that retail, in its newest form, needs to be completely restructured. That may include downsizing or even increasing the number of stores. Either way, it’s a new world.