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POS once referred only to the site—typically, a counter with a cash register where customers handed over cash for goods and services. Payment is still at the heart of any POS system, whether it's online, at a self-service kiosk, via an agent's handheld device, or at a traditional register. But since the old-fashioned cash register first paired up with computers in the 1970s, POS has transformed into a powerful hub for financial, sales, promotional, and operational processes.
As technology has advanced, so have POS systems, with the introduction of bar codes in the 1970s, graphical interfaces in the 1980s, and online ordering in the 1990s.
In the 21st century, the rate of change has accelerated further. Mobile technology has untethered the payment process from the traditional register, turning the entire store into a POS via tablets and other devices. Recent research, Retail in 4 Dimensions, shows 60 percent of consumers surveyed want mobile payment options in-store. And cloud technology has paved the way for truly modern POS, enabling the rapid integration of critical systems to optimize customer experiences while simultaneously driving higher margins.
In the current decade, POS solutions have evolved to keep pace with today's increasingly demanding and well-informed consumers. If they are unsatisfied with the choices or service levels you offer, they can, with mobile devices in hand, instantly access a limitless set of alternatives. As a result of such extreme competitive pressures, modern POS has evolved far beyond a payment and accounting system to become not just point of sale, but also point of service, driving highly individualized interactions that consistently gratify customers in the moment.
For example, a point-of-service solution empowers retail associates to save sales—and even increase basket size—with real-time visibility into inventory as well as a customer's purchase and online browsing history. Hospitality associates can elevate the guest experience, from faster delivery of personalized orders to seamless application of loyalty programs and other targeted offers.
Done right, modern POS also drives down costs and improves margins, all without sacrificing service levels. For retailers, that means saving—and even increasing—in-store sales with empowered commerce capabilities that allow customers to buy, pick up, or return items via any channel. For the hospitality industry, modern POS maximizes both inventory and staff productivity. Both retail POS and restaurant POS provide advanced analytics that drive leaner operations, more profitable offers, and more effective promotions.
With an integrated, complete POS solution, you gain these capabilities and benefits:
It's harder than ever to gratify today's consumers. Shoppers make purchases anywhere, anytime—and increasingly expect delivery within an ever-shrinking window, whether in-store or on their doorstep. The same principle holds for the hospitality industry. Armed with a growing range of options on their mobile devices, guests expect to order quickly and receive high-quality fare quickly, exactly as they ordered it. If you fail to do so, chances are they won't return.
Line busting is another way to turn frustration into gratification. Whether at a store or restaurant, faster transactions can save sales and encourage consumers to return frequently. Modern POS speeds transaction times, and mobile POS adds a powerful line-busting tool to your arsenal. In fact, research shows that more than half (52 percent) of retailers are arming store associates with mobile technology—and another 26 percent plan to do the same.
In a recent research, Retail in 4 Dimensions, 65 percent of consumers surveyed say personalized offers and promotions are most important to them in their shopping experience. When you know your customers, you can provide a more personalized—and gratifying—experience. For example, a modern POS system can turn checkout into a clienteling opportunity. By empowering in-store associates with a customer's purchase history, online browsing, and cart abandons, POS can increase basket size and same-store sales, even as you drive loyalty by exceeding customer expectations.
Likewise, gift and loyalty programs—whether for retail or hospitality customers—can turn payment into a personalized guest experience in which you reward customers, run targeted promotions, and gather key data on preferences and behaviors. That's probably why 65 percent of US consumers are members of at least one food and beverage loyalty program.
Even when POS was more narrowly focused on managing payments, it was an important source of financial and inventory data. But with the advent of modern POS, it has become much more. Today, POS systems are a vital hub that orchestrates the customer-facing front end with the operational back-end. The result? You optimize all kinds of business transactions and processes—providing consumers with what they want when they want it, while driving higher margins at each step of the way.
For hospitality, that means connecting the register (plus mobile devices and kiosks) with staff, facilities, and inventory to:
For retail, it means seamlessly connecting the POS system with order-management, order-brokering, and customer-engagement systems. Only in this way can you bridge the gap between online and traditional POS functionality to provide true omnichannel capabilities.
Beyond customer fulfillment, modern POS integrates all kinds of business processes—from HCM to financial analytics—to drive higher margins.
Retail and hospitality industries require a modern POS that supports the following critical needs:
Given today's extreme competitive pressures, choosing the right POS system is critical to success in both the retail and hospitality industries. You need a complete, cloud-ready solution that supports every aspect of modern POS that your business requires, from hardware, operating systems, and application servers to database technology and industry-specific software.
A truly modern POS solution requires the integration of many best-in-class elements, including:
Simphony Cloud point of sale from Oracle Hospitality offers a host of benefits to leading restaurant groups, from support for expansion to centralization of operations.
World Kitchen shares how they are bringing their customers a better user experience by empowering in-store associates with a modern retail POS.
Michelle Pacynski, Vice President, Ecommerce, Store, and Mobility Systems, shares her approach to omnichannel CX.